California’s first dry port aims to alleviate supply chain issues
As container volumes entering the United States continue to increase, Mojave Inner Harbor— the only fully licensed inland port in California — will help ease the “port congestion pandemic,” according to Pioneer Partners, a private holding company leading the project.
The first-of-its-kind facility, located 90 miles from San Pedro Bay, will have the capacity to handle around three million containers per year, is expected to start up in 2023 and be fully operational in 2024, according to Pioneer Partners. Containers will be offloaded from ships onto shuttle trains for direct transport through the Alameda Corridor directly to Mojave, where they will be distributed, resulting in an economic benefit of over $100 million along the Alameda Corridor , according to Pioneer Partners.
This project couldn’t come at a better time, according to Pioneer Partners, with annual container volume expected to grow from 20 million containers today to 34 million by 2030, even as ports in the Gulf and Atlantic are modernizing. Mojave’s Inner Harbor will be a “critical relief valve, absorbing a significant portion of this increased traffic and processing it in a more efficient, environmentally friendly and less disruptive way,” the company said, adding that the project also has the benefit of allowing Kern County to “position itself as a key shipping hub capable of attracting large retail and distribution companies to invest in the area surrounding Mojave’s Inner Harbor, paving the way for sustained economic growth”.
The new method of moving containers, used by other major ports, such as Rotterdam, London and Singapore, also has a significantly lower environmental impact than the current system, according to Pioneer Partners, which involves multiple moves of each container per truck, many of which are forced to idle for hours while waiting to receive and unload containers. By shifting more of that traffic to railroad tracks and reducing truck wait times at the port, the company says California can handle increasing numbers of containers while producing less air pollution, an ongoing concern. in the Los Angeles Basin.
Located on more than 400 acres immediately adjacent to the Mojave Air and Spaceport, the inner port will have enough space to handle these containers. The site is serviced directly by rail, including Union Pacific (UP), and by two major freeways, State Highways 14 and 58. According to Pioneer Partners, it is the largest site in California operated by all three modes of transport – road, rail, and air – and is among the largest in the United States. When completed, the Inner Port of Mojave, according to the company, will also be one of the few hubs in the world that can offer rail, air, air and space transportation options.
“The Port of Long Beach has seen record container traffic in recent years, which shows no signs of slowing down,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach. “Being surrounded by the dense urban areas of Long Beach and South Los Angeles, available real estate is limited. Mojave’s Inland Port is the kind of innovative solution that will reduce congestion and allow dockworkers to do their jobs more efficiently, getting goods to businesses and consumers faster. It will also allow the Port of Long Beach to adapt to growing demand and continue to be an engine of economic growth.
According to Pioneer Partners, Mojave’s Inner Harbor:
- Shorten “ship dwell times” at their marine terminal, thereby increasing vessel efficiency.
- Reduce vessel and container demurrage and moderate or reduce ocean freight costs.
- Significantly speed up the receipt of goods to consumers.
- Effectively address a high profile national issue with the expenditure of little or no public money.
- Reduce shipping costs and moderate inflation.
- Establish a new high tonnage clean cargo captive business.
- Add another job market outside of LA Basin.
- Removing thousands of trucks from the 710 corridor, dramatically reducing carbon emissions from adjacent neighborhoods.
Once fully operational, the Inner Port of Mojave, according to the company, will also provide substantial annual economic benefit locally and nationally by:
- Generating over $500 million in annual economic development for California.
- Support nearly 3,000 new jobs with nearly $230 million in labor income.
- Add nearly $80 million in tax revenue.
- Approximately $100 million in increased revenue for the Alameda Corridor.
The project took another step forward on August 9 when the Kern County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation in support of approved site plans for Mojave’s Inner Harbor. The proclamation, according to Pioneer Partners, gives new impetus to the inland port project. With site plans now zoned and approved, Pioneer Partners, which recently completed a similar global development project in Nevada (Cadence) [to the port]will work with Kern County officials to obtain building permits as part of the next phase of the development process.
“We want to thank the state, Kern County, federal government and all of our supporters and stakeholders for helping to make the dream of an inland port in Mojave a reality,” said Richard Kellogg, president of Pioneer. Partners. “This one-of-a-kind project will help ease congestion in the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; it will help the national economy by reducing pressure on the supply chain; it will help the local economy by creating jobs. Goods will get to businesses and consumers faster and more efficiently. We can’t wait to get started.