Port of Quincy to expand its intermodal terminal

Expansion to accommodate increasing growth in ocean container freight including frozen and dry ag products from central/eastern Washington.

December 23, 2019

4 Min Read
Quincy Port.jpg
Port of Quincy

The Port of Quincy has begun moving forward with Phase 1 of an important infrastructure project to expand its Intermodal Terminal in Quincy, Washington, by adding more gravel surface to the east and north portions of the Intermodal Terminal to accommodate the increasing growth in ocean container freight (including frozen and dry agricultural products from central/eastern Washington) going by truck from the Port of Quincy to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

In particular, the Intermodal Terminal expansion project will be done in two phases.  Phase 1 will include improvements to the Intermodal Terminal container storage area by providing additional gravel surfacing of 90,000 square feet for the storage of containers in the north and east portions of the terminal.  The work will include installing 8,000 tons of compacted crushed heavy surfacing granular material.  The total estimated project cost of Phase 1 is approximately $300,000.  The Port of Quincy will provide the funding to complete Phase 1.  The Port anticipates completing the design before the end of 2019 and then completing Phase 1 of the Intermodal Terminal expansion in early 2020. 

Phase 2 will include improvements to the electrical and lighting systems within the Intermodal Terminal.  The work will include installing three additional reefer power units/receptacles for the storage of an additional 30 refrigerated containers within the terminal.  The work will also include installing three additional yard lights with LED floodlights in the vicinity of the proposed reefer power units/receptacles.  The total estimated project cost of Phase 2 will be approximately $400,000.  The Port of Quincy will be requesting assistance in the form of a federal and/or state legislative appropriation(s) or grant(s) to complete Phase 2.

The Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal is a modern and fully functional inland intermodal port facility located on the BNSF mainline (i.e...Stevens Pass line), and is currently providing truck intermodal export services for shippers and exporters in Washington State.  In particular, the Intermodal Terminal is providing storage and loading services for 40' export containers of frozen food products going by truck from central Washington to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and the number of containers being stored and loaded at the Terminal has increased dramatically in the past three years.

Additionally, the Intermodal Terminal has over 8,000 feet of rail storage/siding tracks and could accommodate loading westbound short-haul intermodal trains with 20' or 40' containers of dry and/or perishable Washington State agricultural products.  Furthermore, the Port has a top pick container loader and a shuttle wagon/yard goat (i.e…a small locomotive) to move and organize stacked containers within the Terminal.  Moreover, there is nearly 1 million square feet of warehousing in close proximity to the Intermodal Terminal to provide shippers with distribution, cross-dock and storage capacity in and out of central Washington.

The Port of Quincy has a track record of handling/shipping intermodal containers.  From early 2010 to mid-2014, the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal was used to load eastbound refrigerated intermodal trains, and several thousand 53' domestic intermodal containers per year were shipped from Quincy, WA to various destinations in the Midwest and on the East Coast.  In addition, product was shipped back on westbound intermodal trains from the Midwest and East Coast to Quincy for distribution throughout Washington State.

More recently, the Port of Quincy has been receiving some inquiries from shippers and other stakeholders about the possibility of utilizing the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal as a westbound inland intermodal port in central Washington in which trains could be loaded at the Intermodal Terminal with ocean containers of Washington State agricultural products and then be railed to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma to be loaded onto ocean container ships. 

In 2017, the NW Seaport Alliance provided a presentation/report to shippers and stakeholders in central/eastern Washington on the "Inland Port Impact on Growing the Agriculture Industry".  According to the presentation, an inland port would offer the following benefits:

  • Congestion on major roadways and mountain passes would be reduced as the number of truck trips per day would decrease to/from the Puget Sound.

  • Containers could be moved with more speed and reliability while lowering the carbon footprint of exports via rail.

  • Containers could be spotted closer to the shippers, with 24/7 availability of picking up or dropping containers in a secured yard.

  • Would attract new investments in warehousing facilities and other industries supporting the agriculture market.

  • Turn times could be improved so that exporters would be able to ship more product overseas because marine terminals would be less congested.

Because of the above-mentioned increased business and private investment at the Intermodal Terminal, the Port of Quincy believes that it is now necessary that more of the Intermodal Terminal be surfaced (i.e…expanded) to accommodate the additional cargo and containers that are being loaded and unloaded at the terminal.

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