The Port of Oakland has approved an US$11m rail connection for Cool Port Oakland which will act as a key link in the US-Asia meat export chain.
The two mile-long rail spur will connect Union Pacific Railroad tracks with Cool Port’s 280,000 sq ft distribution centre, which is currently under construction on 25 acres of the Port of Oakland’s land.
Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad will also have access to the rail spur.
The Port of Oakland described this development as “the final piece of an ambitious plan to make [Oakland] a vital link in the food chain,” and estimated that once complete the facility would help the port ship around 27,000 teu of meat to Asia annually.
Port of Oakland maritime director John Driscoll said: “The concept is to bring vast quantities of chilled or frozen beef and pork to Oakland via the rails.
“At Cool Port, the product would be transferred in a temperature-controlled setting from rail cars to shipping containers, then whisked across the street to outbound vessels.”
The Port of Oakland will share the rail cost with the developers, although a US$5m grant will cover some of the fee and Union Pacific will construct a portion of the spur on its own property.
Cool Port, which is being constructed by Lineage Logistics and Dreisbach Enterprises, is expected to increase shipments of pork and beef from Midwest America to the growing Asian market for premium meat.
The Cool Port distribution facility is expected to open in the third quarter of 2018.