Port of Corpus ChristiCorpus Christi, TX – The culmination of the first phase of a $45 million rail yard expansion at the Port of Corpus Christi is helping the port become a booming regional hub for oil and energy products.

Texas’ strategic location in America—a position that allows the state to ship and receive diverse products from all over the world—is one of the factors contributing to its healthy economy. But in order for shippers to use these ports effectively, Texas must have a reliable transportation network.

This is where the nationwide freight rail network comes in. Port of Corpus Christi has forged a strong partnership with rail that provides a reliable, accessible and cost effective method to move commodities through the port.

Phase I of the rail yard expansion—funded by private investments from the port, a TIGER grant, three Class I railroads and a short line railroad—has increased rail capacity from 30,000 to 70,000 rail cars per year.

The $22 million Phase II, funded by the Texas Department of Transportation and the port, will be completed by early 2017. Port and rail access have been critical to site selection decisions made by several chemical and energy related companies that have located in the Corpus Christi region recently.

“Freight rail is a tool for building a better economic future because it facilitates the growth of U.S. exports, serving large industries and small businesses across the country,” said Judy Hawley, chair of Port of Corpus Christi’s commissioners. “An efficient and synergistic freight system makes the United States more competitive, encouraging investment and job creation.”

This year alone, the nation’s freight railroads expect to spend and invest $29 billion to operate, maintain and expand their 140,000-mile network. Their private rail investment exceeds the annual expenditures of most state departments of transportation. In other words, for freight railroads, today’s returns pay for tomorrow’s network.