The plan is to first improve operating efficiencies; second, build infrastructure improvements; and third, conduct long-term system planning.
Already in May 2005, in partnership with Tacoma Rail, Union Pacific and BNSF, the Port opened its Tacoma Command Center. Understanding that visibility into supply chain activity was needed, a web-based Business Exchange application was developed to provide a common source of data on which to base and measure daily rail flow decisions. “This system is currently in the first phase of deployment, being used by the partnership and by Intermodal terminal operators,” explains Robert Collins, the Port’s director of intermodal services.
Having completed a 20-year strategic rail development study last year, the Port is presently working on two of six priority projects that should be completed before 2008. For one, the Port is adding track to and reconfiguring a critical intersection – Bullfrog Junction -- between the Tideflats and the UP and BNSF. The aim is to increase redundancy, allowing multiple trains to simultaneously move to and from terminals and serve to increase capacity and safety.