SAN ANTONIO – A new railroad track is now up and running at Port San Antonio.
The new system officially launched Tuesday morning.
"We added several new yard tracks to handle the anticipated new growth in business that's already coming," said Rick Webb, CEO of Watco.
The tracks, which run around the East Kelly Rail Port, were doubled in size, having been expanded from four miles to eight miles.
The track is utilized by San Antonio Central Railroad and helps transfer rail cars from Union Pacific and BNSF railway trains to manufacturing and warehouse businesses at the port.
"With additional track, that means you've got greater capacity. Greater capacity means we have more railcars coming in with materials. That makes us a focal point for many other industries to view us as a way to transport the materials," said San Antonio Rep. Charlie Gonzalez.
Last year, rail traffic was up more than 75 percent at Port San Antonio and most of that growth is attributed to demand at Eagle Ford shale.
"With the development of the Eagle Ford shale play, it's a strategic point of development for customers that want to bring in frack sand, want to bring in pipe, want to bring in other commodities that will develop the Eagle Ford shale play," said Webb
Between the fiscals years of 2010 and 2011, 2,594 rail cars were served. In the fiscal year 2012, which concluded Sept. 30, a new record was set with 5,167 rail cars processed.
The new track expansion allows the railport to serve up to 20,000 rail cars per year.
"This is an incredible development," said Gonzalez, "It's only a good thing."