Port Of Ephrata Makes Major Push To Rehabilitate Rail Spur & Establish Itself As Key Freight Center

The Port of Ephrata is rehabilitating its rail spur for new industrial developments and to handle containerized cargo and to unload and load significant amounts of freight from the BNSF mainline.
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Washington - US

March 9, 2009 - PRLog -- Ephrata, WA - The Port of Ephrata is making a major push for funding to rehabilitate an existing 1.5 mile rail spur located within its district.  This rail spur was built in the 1940's and had received little maintenance since it was built.

The rail spur is the only access for the Port of Ephrata to the BNSF mainline.  One shipper, Katana, depends heavily on receiving raw steel goods for its wind tower production.

If the improvements do happen, Katana President/CEO Darrell Lehmann said it's possible production would double and 50 jobs would be added at the Ephrata location.

By rehabilitating the rail spur, it is initially projected that over 2,500 railcar loads will be handled at Port of Ephrata, thus eliminating 7,500 semi-truck hauls annually and decreasing damage to roads and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to Mike Wren, Manager of the Port of Ephrata.  Additionally, there is considerable interest in handling containerized cargo at the Port of Ephrata and utilizing the rail spur to unload and load significant amounts of freight from the BNSF mainline.

With over 2,000 acres of industrial and commercially zoned land, the Port of Ephrata is the largest single landholder within the City of Ephrata corporate limits.  In addition, the Port of Ephrata has more industrial and commercially zoned land currently available than any other port district in Grant County, and with its close proximity to the BNSF mainline, the Port is ideally suited to be a major cargo distribution area.

The planned rail line rehabilitation played a key role in attracting American Tire Corporation, which will bring in over 300 jobs to the area in the next two years plus significant tax revenues.

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and his staff, visited the Port of Ephrata this past summer, said Mike Wren.  "They were clearly impressed.”

Wren said he recently submitted a report for Chopp explaining why rehabilitating the rail spur is a good investment for the state.

If the improvements do occur, a couple of land parcels near Katana Summit would benefit, Wren said.  The loading space is currently such that train cars have to be jockeyed around in the limited loading area and the track is also tied up during loading, he said.

"It would benefit us, and benefit the port to add more cargo handling capability," said Katana President/CEO Darrell Lehmann of the plans in Ephrata.

For more information, contact the Port of Ephrata at 509-754-3508 or email office@portofephrata.com.

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