The Northwest Seaport Alliance Launches Rail Cargo Incentive Program in the Pacific Northwest

Rail Cargo Incentive Program

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has announced the launch of its 2023 Rail Cargo Incentive Program aimed at driving growth and cost-effective operations in the Pacific Northwest region. The program will increase cargo volumes in the gateway while reducing costs to importers and exporters that utilize the NWSA gateway and their rail partners.

Approximately half the import cargo that moves through the NWSA gateway is bound for destinations outside of the Puget Sound region, primarily the Midwest. The 2023 Rail Cargo Incentive Program will provide a $50 incentive per rail lift for eligible rail volumes moving through the gateway beginning on May 1, 2023.

The program is expected to generate approximately 60,000 additional rail lifts, equivalent to roughly 15% of NWSA international intermodal lifts in 2022. The initial investment will total $3 million in incentive funding, with the option of extending the program beyond April 2024.

“The NWSA strives to be the most efficient gateway for cargo movement, and the implementation of the rail incentive will ensure that we remain cost-competitive while offering the same best-in-class service for our customers,” stated NWSA Co-Chair Deanna Keller

"As competition in the shipping industry intensifies with current market conditions, the rail cargo incentive program is an important tool to help attract additional cargo volumes that provide critical jobs for maritime workers across our gateway," said NWSA Co-Chair Sam Cho.

The NWSA has supported the establishment and growth of inland rail hubs to drive agriculture export cargo to the NWSA. Most intermodal inland ramp locations served and/or operated by the BNSF and Union Pacific Railroads will be eligible for the incentive program including ramp locations in Minot, ND, Pocatello, ID, Millersburg OR, and Wallula, WA.

Managing Members approved the 2023 Rail Cargo Incentive Program at their April 4 Managing Member meeting. The NWSA will provide a mid-year update to Commissioners and determine if additional funding will be allocated to extend the program into the future.

For customers interested in the Rail Cargo Incentive Program, please reach out to our Business Development Team here.

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