New US Gulf Coast plants will raise freight traffic by 450 trucks/day

21 September 2017 17:29 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The new plants that are starting up in the US Gulf Coast will add 450 trucks/day on local roads, a manager with LyondellBasell said on Thursday.

Given the upcoming increase in freight traffic, the industry needs to make sure the right infrastructure is in place, said Scott Campbell, commercial logistics, supply-chain manager for LyondellBasell. He made his comments during the Gulf Coast Industry Forum.

In addition, risk mitigation and contingency planning needs to be considered, given the disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey, he said.

Harvey shut down nearly all truck traffic in Houston, preventing supplies from entering the city, said Caroline Mays, freight planning branch manager, Texas Department of Transportation.

"How do you address that?" she asked. "You need a bold plan."

Houston itself has problems that compounded these other challenges, Mays said.

The port of Houston is not directly connected to an interstate highway, making it more difficult to move freight by truck, she said. The eastern part of Houston has a lot of warehouses that also have freight and connectivity problems.

Since funds are limited, policy makers need to do a better job in determining which freight projects should receive the highest priority, she said. "We have to prioritise the most critical needs and the most critical freight corridors."

By Al Greenwood