Plan for inland port in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert gains traction

Date: Thursday, August 18, 2022
Source: Supply Chain Dive

Dive Brief:

  • A private investment firm aims to break ground on an inland port in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert by 2023 after local officials greenlit the project last week.
  • The Kern County Board of Supervisors granted zoning approval to Texas-based Pioneer Partners to build the proposed Mojave Inland Port 90 miles outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to a release. The company will now work with Kern County to secure a building permit for the project, with the goal of making the port operational by 2024.
  • Pioneer Partners estimates the inland desert port could handle approximately 3 million containers per year and act as a “relief valve” for congestion occurring at the San Pedro Bay Port Complex. “Goods will get to businesses and consumers faster and more efficiently,” the firm said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

The proposed complex, which would become California’s first inland port, largely depends on rail to move goods from the San Pedro Bay Port Complex to Mojave.

Cargo would arrive at the port of Los Angeles or Long Beach to be transported by rail on the Alameda Corridor further inland. The Mojave port would be served directly by rail and be located nearby trucking arteries Highways 48 and 15. It would also be near the Mojave Air & Space Port, which is capable of accommodating large cargo planes.

By shifting more cargo onto rail, the project aims to reduce the amount of time trucks are waiting at the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, lowering congestion and emissions. California has pushed to expedite infrastructure projects to help relieve congestion, with Gov. Gavin Newsom issuing an executive order directing state agencies to find land that could house containers and free up capacity at the ports.

“Inland ports are a critical component to the future balance of our supply chain. They can provide flexibility and efficiency, all while relieving traffic congestion at critical choke points,” said Trelynd Bradley, Deputy Director of Sustainable Freight and Supply Chain Development at the California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development, the state’s business development arm.

Pioneer Partners purchased the land housing the proposed complex in 1991, and a spokesperson for the firm said that the idea for an inland port has been in the works for years. The group, which has a history of building planned residential communities, has been in contact with California regulators, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, railroads and other supply chain stakeholders, the spokesperson said.

Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said in a statement that the desert complex would provide much-needed capacity as the West Coast port experiences record container traffic.

“The Mojave Inland Port is the type of innovative solution that will alleviate congestion and allow dockworkers to do their jobs more efficiently, getting goods to businesses and consumers faster,” Cordero said. “It will also ensure the Port of Long Beach can adapt to growing demand and continue to be an engine of economic growth.”


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