Union Pacific Begins Construction of $90 Million State-of-the-Art Intermodal Terminal in Southwest Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO — Union Pacific has broken ground on a $90 million state-of-the-art intermodal terminal, which is expected to generate $2.48 billion in cumulative economic impact for the area over 20 years, officials said.

Located strategically between rail lines traveling to and from the West Coast and Mexico, the 300-acre rail port will ship and receive containers and trailers with household goods and other items supporting retailers and distribution centers, as well as auto parts for a new Toyota plant in San Antonio.

“Union Pacific is very pleased to begin work on our San Antonio Intermodal Terminal, which will provide convenience to customers, stimulate economic development and create jobs,” said John Kaiser, vice president and general manager of Union Pacific’s Intermodal Business.

According to Kaiser, the railroad’s intermodal volume has experienced substantial growth in recent years, reflecting the demand for the various consumer goods, electronics, toys and clothing that are being shipped from Asia via intermodal services.

The railroad’s new San Antonio Intermodal Terminal will begin processing over 100,000 trailers with future growth potential of 250,000 trailers and containers per year.

Intermodal trains are an environmentally friendly option of transporting consumer goods compared to long haul trucks. Trains are three times more fuel efficient and produce one-third less emissions than trucks without the wear and tear on taxpayer financed roads and highways.

The new facility is expected to result in improved freight movement in the San Antonio area. Over 80,000 semi trucks, which currently travel annually to rail yards within the San Antonio city limits to pick up or drop off containers and trailers, will now have a convenient facility outside the busy city.

The new terminal will also reduce truck traffic on Interstate 10 through San Antonio and to Houston by allowing trucks the option to drop off their containers in San Antonio instead of Houston.

Due to the current lack of intermodal capacity in San Antonio, some trucks currently have to go through San Antonio to Houston to drop off their containers for trains bound for other destinations. At the same time, train traffic will be more fluid as additional rail capacity is developed in the area. Trucks and automobiles will access the terminal through a convenient entrance located at Interstate 35.

First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc., a provider of industrial real estate supply chain solutions, in partnership with 4M Realty, has been selected as the developer for the facility.

“First Industrial is pleased to be chosen to develop this state-of-the-art facility that expands our relationship with Union Pacific,” said Terry Darrow, senior development officer of First Industrial. “This new intermodal center will enhance UP’s capacity to serve its customers’ growing supply chain needs in the South San Antonio, Bexar County Corridor and the entire South Texas area.”

Last year, Union Pacific worked closely with TxDot, the Southwest Independent School District, the San Antonio Metropolitan Planning Organization, and city and county officials to address traffic concerns related to the future facility. As a result, Union Pacific made the decision to place the access and egress points for trucks and automobiles at Interstate 35 at an additional investment of several million dollars.

This change has enhanced the viability of an adjacent business park which First Industrial is currently planning. “We believe that Union Pacific customers will find it advantageous to locate close to this state-of-the-art intermodal facility,” said Darrow. “The entire development will be a huge economic engine bringing much needed jobs and commerce to the South San Antonio, Bexar County area.”

When completed, the new facility will use a combination of advanced computer systems and technology to coordinate all movement of rail cars, trucks, trailers and containers. Because of this technology, a truck entering or leaving the facility will be stopped at the gate for only 30 to 45 seconds, compared to the national average of four minutes.

The terminal is being built on 300 acres within 1,500 acres acquired between Old Pearsall Road, Interstate 35 and loop 410. Union Pacific expects construction of the new facility to be completed in late 2008.

— Business Wire

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