The Port of Quincy is participating in a major effort to improve rail freight movement across the Great Northern Corridor, which spans the northern tier of the western United States from the Puget Sound (Seattle & Tacoma, WA area) and the Lower Columbia River (Portland, OR, Longview, WA, and Vancouver, WA areas) to Chicago through Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Representatives from these states (including the Port of Quincy in Washington State) have formed the Great Northern Corridor Coalition to promote regional cooperation, planning and shared project implementation to improve the movement of rail freight.

The Port of Quincy has a state-of-the-art Intermodal Terminal on the BNSF Railway mainline (on the Great Northern Corridor) which goes from Seattle to Chicago, and is only a few minutes away from I-90, a major cross-country interstate freeway.
The Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal includes 10,000 feet of track, and a container maintenance and cleaning facility in close proximity to provide perishable, frozen and produce shippers with distribution and storage capacity in and out of Washington State. The Intermodal Terminal is home to the Cold
Train, which was launched by Rail Logistics in early 2010 in partnership with the Port of Quincy and BNSF Railway. Since the Cold Train Express Intermodal Service was launched, it has grown rapidly in popularity with shippers in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest and East Coast. Shipments of Pacific Northwest fresh produce and frozen foods on the Cold Train continue to grow at a fast pace.

The Port of Quincy is also developing an emerging reputation as a premier location for produce packing and frozen processing, and perishable and frozen foods shipping and distribution, especially given the Port’s location in the heart of Washington State’s major fresh produce (apples, potatoes, cherries, onions, pears, carrots, etc.) growing region in central Washington. According to a recent study of 29 western U.S. and Canadian locations with intermodal connections to regional markets, Quincy, Washington ranked as the lowest cost location for operating a distribution center or a warehouse. Stated Patric Connelly, Port of Quincy Commissioner, ”Perishable shippers that utilize the Port of Quincy Intermodal Terminal rely on the Great Northern Corridor to move Washington State fresh produce and frozen foods by intermodal rail to 20 states in the Midwest and East Coast. “This interconnected system of rail, highways and ports is vital to shippers in Washington State and other states along the Great Northern Corridor,” added Connelly.

Currently, more than 203 million tons of freight moves annually over this corridor, which is a complex rail freight transportation network that directly serves 27 million Americans and goes across hundreds of miles of critical agricultural areas (such as Columbia Basin, Wenatchee Valley and Yakima Valley) in Washington State and also through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota, etc. If the Great Northern Corridor did not exist, over 203 million tons of freight (that currently moves by rail) would have to travel by long-haul truck every year and it would take approximately 4.8 million long-haul trucks annually to move that much freight.

The Great Northern Corridor Coalition is working to strengthen the corridor in order to promote economic growth for neighboring communities and accommodate the demand for safe, efficient and environmentally sound transportation services.

The first step of the Coalition’s process is underway, conducting a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to identify opportunities to improve the operations and infrastructure along the corridor. The study will be conducted by Olsson Associates, Parsons Brinckerhoff and The Beckett Group with funding through the Federal Highway Administration Multistate Corridor Operations and Management Program, as well as funding from coalition partners, including the Port of Quincy.

The next step to strengthening the corridor will be using the results from the SWOT analysis to develop viable strategies and projects that will improve multimodal transportation system management and operations. The analysis is expected to be completed by fall 2014 with analysis of identified projects and initiatives beginning immediately thereafter.

Coalition partners include:

BNSF Railway
Idaho Transportation Department

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Montana Department of Transportation

North Dakota Department of Transportation

Oregon Department of Transportation

Port of Everett

Port of Grays Harbor

Port of Longview

Port of Northern Montana

Port of Pasco

Port of Portland

Port of Quincy

Port of Seattle

Port of Tacoma

Port of Vancouver, USA

Washington Public Ports Association

Washington State Department of Transportation

Wisconsin Department of Transportation