May 16, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

Starting June 2, BNSF Railway will initiate regular intermodal service between the Port of Houston and both its massive Alliance facility, north of Fort Worth, and onward to Denver.

The twice a week service from Port of Houston to Fort Worth and weekly service to Denver follows a year of testing market demand in the busy Gulf Coast corridor.

BNSF issued a service advisory this week and stated that trains will originate from the Barbours Cut container terminal at the Port of Houston on Tuesday and Friday evenings and deliver containers to its Alliance facility on Thursday and Sunday mornings. Denver pickups will occur in Houston each Friday evening. 

This announcement follows two recent developments of competing Class 1 railroads, the recent merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern, now known as CPKC, and an alliance formed between Union Pacific, Canadian National and Ferromex to funnel traffic in the busy north-south Midwest corridor. 

In a statement, BNSF said “Taking advantage of the live lift capabilities and other expanded capacity and technology advancements at our Alliance, Texas, Intermodal Facility, this new on-dock terminal rail option will serve the greater Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver markets.” Based on market demand and arrival of vessels at the port, BNSF indicated that frequency of service could be expanded to meet market needs.

Port Houston has moved up from the number seven container port in the U.S. to number five, according to Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo. 

Port Houston’s container exports continue to outpace historic 2022 volumes, according to a statement from officials. Loaded exports specifically are up 17% year-to-date compared to last year, due in large part to the demand for resin exports. In total, 1,026,260 loaded twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) were handled through April at Port Houston, surpassing the 1 million-mark earlier in the year than ever before.

Campo said “Our import and export volume reached record numbers in 2022 and is considered one of the fastest growing ports in the U.S. in loaded imports and loaded exports, and Houston now owns a 7% market share of the total U.S. container business.” 

Through April Port Houston’s total container cargo consisted of 51% imports and 49% exports. “As the fastest growing and now the fifth-largest container port in the U.S., we must remain proactive and well-equipped to meet the needs of our customers,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “Infrastructure investments remain a priority at Port Houston, along with the expansion of the Houston Ship Channel, which is already improving vessel transit times as part of segment 1A’s completion.” 

Photo credit City of Houston