[Updated October 1st] North American rail provider Union Pacific Railroad has announced at $90m investment in its Port Laredo intermodal ramp in Texas.

A spokesperson for Union Pacific confirmed that the company was currently working on an expansion project that would help improve efficiencies not just for Union Pacific, but also for its trucking partners using the facility.  

Phase I of the project is slated for completion in 2016 and includes the acquisition of approximately 15 hectares of additional land, the opening of a new entrance, installation of an automated gate system and the construction of new buildings on the site.  

“The new entrance and automated gate system will allow for improved traffic in and out of the facility and extend the potential operating hours of the facility all the way to 24/7 as demand warrants,” the spokesperson told Automotive Logistics. “We look forward to analysing the improvements in our operations upon completion of this first phase.”

Pending that analysis the company will carry out a second phase of the expansion that is planned to include additional track work and expanded parking for the cargo carriers.

“A timeline for this second phase has not been set, but will be based on volumes and our customer demands,” said the spokesperson.

The two-phase project will make the facility a 24/7 operation and begin with the development of an entrance with automatic gates. The second phase will double the size of the facility and its capacity to handle truckloads.

Last year Union Pacific Railroad established an intermodal service between Laredo and Memphis in response to growing transport from the automotive manufacturing and intermodal marketplaces. The service connects businesses in the south-eastern US and Mexico.

Automotive traffic to and from Mexico represented more than half of Union Pacific’s overall automotive volumes last year (with two thirds of volumes crossing an international border). This included shipments of finished  vehicles as well as parts and materials moving in intermodal or boxcar/flatcar service.

In its results for 2014 automotive shipments increased 4%, generating 9% of overall revenue, with parts shipments up 5% and finished vehicle movements up 2%.