Drayage trucks may lose out to rail cars in Long Beach

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Updated Apr 29, 2016
Drayage trucks at the Port of Long Beach, Calif.Drayage trucks at the Port of Long Beach, Calif.

The Port of Long Beach is studying the possibility of replacing hundreds of regional trucks with short-haul rail cars over concerns of increased cargo and air pollution.

What takes 750 trucks to accomplish, requires only one cargo-filled train ride from the Southern California port, the second busiest in the nation behind the Port of Los Angeles. Products from Asia are regularly shipped to both ports.

To accommodate short-haul rail cars, which are usually confined to 100-mile long trips or less, a train terminal would more than likely have to be built inland either in neighboring San Bernardino or Riverside counties, according to The Press Enterprise.

Trucks would then pick-up merchandise from that inland terminal, which would reduce the amount of time that they’re on the road and thus lower emissions. The City of San Bernardino is about 72 miles from the Port.

Regional trucks would then transport merchandise from the train terminal to area warehouses and distribution centers. About 20,000 people work in the freight shipping business within San Bernardino and Riverside counties, which is also known as the Inland Empire.

The Port of Long Beach study “is part of a Supply Chain Optimization Initiative, a joint endeavor with the Port of Los Angeles,” the Press Enterprise reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that unsold goods continue to amass at U.S. ports from Southern California to New York and that retailers “could cut back on ordering more from overseas if inventories don’t come down.”