The Board of Harbor Commissioners of Long Beach, California, awarded a $38.7 million, five-year engineering design services contract to architectural, engineering and consulting firm HDR to perform the final design for the $870 million Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility Program at the Port of Long Beach. The project will help streamline rail operations and reduce congestion at the port, which has the second-highest volume of container traffic in the U.S. AECOM, according to a commissioners' staff report, was the other bidder on the project.
HDR's scope of work includes preliminary engineering, including program-level design, performance of additional investigations, operational modeling, optimizing sequencing and design and construction support of early rail improvements. Ultimately, the project will increase the port's ability to load shipping containers directly onto rail cars instead of onto short-haul trucks by reconfiguring the existing Pier B rail yard into a 2-mile freight train staging area. The company will work with consultant Moffatt & Nichol on the project.
HDR has agreed to use at least 27% small business (SBEs) and very small business enterprises (VSBEs), with at least 19% of that work dedicated to VSBEs.
The commissioners also gave Hill International a $17.5 million program management contract for the same project. Hill's contract also is five years, and the company has committed to the same SBE/VSBE requirements.
Other major rail projects are underway in the U.S. and Canada as ports revamp to handle more containers from increased traffic and bigger ships and, for some ports, to draw new business as well.
GCT (Global Container Terminals) Bayonne in Bayonne, New Jersey, is a semi-automated port that recently completed a $149 million rail expansion, according to the JOC, in hopes of attracting cargo business from ports on the West Coast. The project has increased the port's rail capacity to 1.5 million TEU (20-foot-equivalent unit), the largest of any U.S. port. The Bayonne project, according to Railway Age, is the last of a $600 million Port Authority rail expansion program that began in the 1990s.
Beth Rooney, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's deputy director, told the JOC that in order to be competitive, ports need rail service to get cargo past the typical 400-mile to 500-mile range of trucks.