OmniTRAX to operate and develop new Industrial Park at Port of Brownsville
POSTED: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 8:07am
UPDATED: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 8:10am
PORT OF BROWNSVILLE, TX — OmniTRAX, one of the largest privately held rail service companies in North America, will manage and operate the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad, a short line railway based in Brownsville, TX. OmniTRAX will also develop a large-scale industrial park on land owned by the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) of Cameron County, the parent governmental body of the Port of Brownsville.
The Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad will continue to be led by President & COO Norma Torres, and OmniTRAX expects to retain all personnel. The strategic partnership between the BND and OmniTRAX covers a 30-year period and will deliver significant economic development for the Rio Grande Valley.
“This is a great opportunity for OmniTRAX, the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad and the people of Brownsville to bring in new industries, create new jobs, increase the tax base and boost the local economy. We are honored to be selected for the project by the Brownsville Navigation District and look forward to working with Norma Torres and the team at the railroad, the port and all other parties to reach these goals,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX.
The Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad runs 45 miles through the Brownsville Navigation District and five miles into the city of Brownsville itself, providing the port and its customers with access to two Class 1 railroads — Union-Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The railroad also has an intermediate connection via Union Pacific to Kansas City Southern De Mexico routes across the Rio Grande.
“The professional rail and industrial development team at OmniTRAX helps us take advantage of our proximity to Mexico and other strategic assets to drive economic growth in the Brownsville region. Their experience and the best practices they use position us for mutual success,” said Ralph Cowen, Chairman of the Board of Canal Commissioners of the Port of Brownsville.
The Port of Brownsville currently has about 40,000 acres of land available for development. OmniTRAX will work with the BND to develop 1,200 acres for a world-class industrial park. The land is well-suited for light and heavy manufacturing, logistics, energy services, technology development and export/import warehousing.
“With recent energy reforms in Mexico, the anticipated development of the Burgos Basin just south of Brownsville and the energy expertise of OmniTRAX affiliate The Broe Group, we expect to take advantage of related opportunities for the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad and the Port of Brownsville,” said Brad Skinner, Chairman of OmniTRAX.
The Broe Group and OmniTRAX have operated in Texas for more than 15 years, and have received a warm welcome to Brownsville from many officials, business people, and citizens, including the Port Commissioners, Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad officials, Mayor Tony Martinez, the Brownsville Economic Development Council, Brownsville Public Utilities Board and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, among others.
"I would like to congratulate the Port of Brownsville and The Broe Group for entering into this significant agreement," said Congressman Vela, who represents the 34th District of Texas, which includes Brownsville. "The Port Commission's decision to partner with the Broe Group to spur economic development in our region has my full support. The Broe Group and OmniTRAX have been operating in Texas for more than 15 years and I join our community in welcoming them to Brownsville. I am sure that their presence and insight will be beneficial to our region.”