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Washington Port Secures Funds for Rail Construction

August 2nd, 2010

Washington’s Port of Grays Harbor is $4 million closer to its goal of more than $15 million for construction of additional rail storage tracks in the marine terminal complex. The Pacific Coast port is looking to create rail infrastructure to handle thousands of automobiles and nearly one million tons of U.S. agricultural products and liquid bulk cargoes.

The port said its officials have been working with both private and public partners to develop a rail system master plan to increase the port’s cargo-handling capacity. It estimates that increasing its rail capacity will generate additional export and import trade volumes projected to reach more than $1 billion in value by 2015.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has announced the port will receive $2 million for the construction of auto terminal tracks to handle growing auto export cargoes, the port said. The improvements will also accommodate increased agricultural product exports.

In addition, the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board has awarded the port a $2 million, no-interest loan for Phase 1 of its planned rail improvements.

“Senator Murray’s announcement, and the commitment of the CERB financing, means we are on track to construct the additional rail needed to meet today’s demand and accommodate future cargo growth. This news has positive short-term and long-term impacts,” said Gary Nelson, executive director of the Port of Grays Harbor.

“Investing in rail capacity on Washington State’s Pacific Coast is the key to providing American shippers and producers with a direct route to our Pacific trading partners,” said Port of Grays Harbor Commission President Jack Thompson. “This project directly creates strong, marine related jobs in our community while improving our Nation’s position in the global marketplace.”

Last December, the Pasha Group, a diversified global transportation services and logistics company headquartered in Corte Madera, Calif., announced that Chrysler Group LLC had selected Pasha’s automotive facilities at the Port of Grays Harbor to support its exports of vehicles from the Pacific Northwest to destinations in Asia. Since January, Grays Harbor has processed and shipped more than 10,000 Chrysler automobiles to countries throughout the Pacific Rim.

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Moreover, in March, soybean meal cooperative AG Processing Inc. announced expansion plans for its Grays Harbor operations. This summer the company began construction on a $60 million storage facility slated to open in 2012.

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