Transportation Planning for the Future
MOBILE MOVES FREIGHT
RAILROADS SERVICING MOBILE
Serving the Mobile area and the port are 5 Class I Railroads; CSX, Burlington/Santa Fe, Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, and Kansas City Southern, with an estimated 2,500 railroad cars transiting Mobile daily. According to the Alabama State Port Authority nearly 130,000 revenue producing rail car movements occur annually at the ASPA.
Two Class III railroads serve the port including the ASPA’s Terminal Railroad serving the Port Authority’s facilities and ancillary businesses as well as Brookley Air Center and its Foreign Trade Zone. The Central Gulf Railroad provides rail-on-barge service to Mexico.
While little container traffic currently is handled by the railroads in Mobile, this likely will grow as volumes increase. West Coast port congestion, the opening of a widened Panama Canal, and the efficiencies and capabilities of Choctaw Point will further accelerate container volume in Mobile.
Growth in rail coal tonnage as well as general growth in rail traffic in our area as the Port grows raises concerns over railroad capacity. Nationally, it is estimated by the National Rail Freight Capacity Study of 2007, some 135 to 148 billion dollars of railroad improvements are needed over the next 28 years to meet capacity requirements. As much of the railroad industry’s capital funding historically comes from retained earnings, growth can be very burdensome to the industry.