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  • Tucson’s inland port poised to tap global markets

    May 31, 2013 | Read More News
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    Local industry leaders gathered Friday to celebrate the ceremonial arrival of the first international ocean Portcontainer to Southern Arizona’s inland port, marking a milestone in the quest to grow trade and business relationships around the world.

    While the Port of Tucson has been handling domestic intermodal containers since 2004, a large crowd gathered to celebrate the arrival of a container that traveled to Tucson from China over a span of 20 days, without ever touching a highway.

    The ability to ship and receive international containers “is going to be great for Southern Arizona and Mexico,” predicted Alan Levin, who founded the Port of Tucson at the Century Park Research Park, near Interstate 10 and South Kolb Road. He noted a rail container can carry 20 percent more freight than shipping via truck, and at lower freight rates. Aside from cost savings, the Tucson facility is efficient for freight management since companies will no longer have to unload intermodal cargo at Long Beach and transport their cargo here. Instead, the Port is working with Union Pacific to offer international service that allows the shipping of intermodal containers directly onto trains that run to and from California ports.

    Nogales may be the gateway to Mexico, said Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, who joined the mayors of Tucson,Douglas and Agua Prieta at the celebration. “But the Port of Tucson is a very important component of distribution for the whole region – for the state of Sonora and for the state of Arizona.”

    Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the project meshes with goals of making Southern Arizona aPort logistics hub for the entire Southwest region and for northern Mexico. This area has the land, the capital, the international airports and, ultimately, new road connections that will make the region more functional and competitive, he said.

    Huckelberry congratulated Levin on the occasion. “This demonstrates what perseverance and tenacity does. It starts with a dream and ends with a product that will benefit the entire community.”