Unit 15 residents participate in a tour of the Port of Tucson

Jon Quinn

Eleven of us from Unit 15 visited the Port of Tucson/Century Park Research Center on Monday, March 9, 2015. The tour and presentation by Mr. Stefan Baumann, Director of Business Development, were both amazing, providing insight into the movement of freight through our area.

The Port of Tucson is a full service inland port, rail yard and intermodal facility located in the City of Tucson/Pima County, Arizona, 70 miles north of the U.S./Mexico border crossing on Interstate 19. The facility is located adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad Mainline and Interstate 10, linking California and Texas.

Currently the total facility consists of approximately 767 acres with about 50,000 feet of working rail track, over 1.7 million square feet of industrial freezer, cold storage, manufacturing and distribution buildings with zoning approved for an additional five million square feet of buildings. They are a federally designated and activated Foreign Trade Zone as well as a State of Arizona Enterprise Zone. The Port of Tucson is a neutral transportation facility with the main purpose to connect people and companies with opportunities and markets.

The Port of Tucson is located on Union Pacific Railroad’s Southern Corridor Main Line (Sunset Route). Union Pacific provides manifest service into the Port of Tucson servicing Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Gondola, Hopper, Box and Tanker cars, as well as domestic intermodal containers, are received and shipped six days per week; international intermodal containers are received two days per week and shipped out five days per week to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The Port of Tucson is offering drayage services to its constituents. Several on-site locomotives provide rail car spotting and switching and container packers are dedicated to handle large container volumes.

Current capacity of trains between El Paso and Los Angeles is 74 per day, with upgrades being made to reach over 90 per day. There is a Produce Terminal in the works with 240,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse. And a Grain Terminal is in the works to bring in bulk hopper cars of grain from the Mid-West and load into ocean containers for export right here in Tucson.

Upcoming event – April 29, 2015 – third annual Inter/Multi-modal Development Expo for Arizona and Sonora – $10 – includes tours, presentations and lunch. Here is a link for more information:


In closing, several of our group thought this would be a very dry presentation. But we all walked away shaking our heads; particularly at the sheer volume and types of cargo POT handles. Several of us have lived in the Tucson area for many years and had no idea POT even existed or were even aware how important our area is for freight for the rest of the country. I highly encourage anyone with any interest in our local industries to attend the Expo on April 29.