SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Border Report) — Kansas City Southern could soon break ground on a second binational freight railroad crossing that will connect the border cities of Laredo, Texas, to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
Construction is expected to begin in October or November and will double the number of freight trains carrying goods between those two border cities, Oscar Del Cueto Cuevas, president and general manager of the railroad company Kansas City Southern de Mexico, recently told Border Report.
“It’s very important for both countries,” Del Cueto Cuevas said, adding that the project is being facilitated through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to promote trade between the countries.
“Rail is more and more important in Mexico and now we are offering this capacity, additional capacity, there in the border, the most important border, which is Laredo and Nuevo Laredo,” he said.
Del Cueto Cuevas was a panelist last week at the NADBank U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Forum in San Antonio. He says a new rail line across this port will increase the United States’ supply chain at a time when more routes for goods coming from Mexico are needed.
“This huge project will allow us to connect again Texas and Tamaulipas through Laredo and Nuevo Laredo with this second span on the bridge,” Del Cueto Cuevas said.
Kansas City Southern already operates a freight rail line connecting the two cities, called Class I, and this new line will run parallel, he said.
Currently, 28 to 32 trains cross this border every day and Del Cueto Cuevas said “this second span is to double the number of trains.”
The estimated cost for the rail bridge is $75 million, according to Freight Waves.
Del Cueto Cuevas said the project is expected to take two years to complete.
The rail project coincides with the proposed binational river park, whose renderings and proposals include schematics of the new rail crossing over the Rio Grande.
Presidential permits to build the rail bridge have already been approved by the U.S. and Mexican governments, but some final border permits are still awaiting approval, Del Cueto Cuevas said.
Also, by the time the rail bridge opens, the company is expected to have merged with Canadian Pacific to create Canadian Pacific Kansas City, the only single-line rail network that will link the United States, Mexico and Canada. Merger approval from the Surface Transportation Board is still pending, Del Cueto Cuevas said.