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Regional Freight Activity

The Tucson area is ripe for a complex and flourishing freight network, serving many different modes and movements. With the City of Tucson’s Puerto Nuevo project, Tucson expects to build on its growing relationship with Mexico with its ability to offer a large amount of acreage with convenient air freight service, north/south and east/west interstate highway access, and rail line access. An active freight network will help stimulate job growth and regional economic development in southern Arizona.

Truck and air freight volumes are expected to increase above historic rates over the next 10 to 15 years. While much of the short and intermediate haul freight will go by truck, the volume of air and rail freight will increase for longer haul shipments.

To accommodate the growing freight activity, regional leaders recognize the need to develop a multi-modal transportation facility to integrate air, rail and truck transport providing immediate access for local and international importers and exporters.

Pivotal projects such as the CANAMEX trade corridor, Puerto Nuevo, the Port of Tucson, TIA expansion, and the “Crossing” have accelerated the region's transition as a distribution center.

The CANAMEX Trade Corridor, as defined by Congress in the 1995 National Highway Systems Designation Act, is a High Priority Corridor. The corridor follows I-19 from Nogales to Tucson, I-10 from Tucson to Phoenix, US 93 in the vicinity of Phoenix to the Nevada border, US 93 from Arizona to Las Vegas and I-15 from Las Vegas through Montana to the Canadian border.

CANAMEX is also a broad economic development concept that fosters trade and provides an opportunity for accelerated economic growth throughout the region. For several years there has been an interest in developing this Corridor, chiefly to facilitate transportation distribution, commerce and tourism.

In concept, Puerto Nuevo is a multi- dimensional, inland port with multiple facilities throughout Tucson that can serve the United States, Mexico and beyond. This proposed distribution hub will facilitate a free and competitive flow of regional and international trade between the United States and Mexico, as well as the global marketplace.

Puerto Nuevo’s purpose is to serve as a commerce center that provides easier trade access, cost-effective manufacturing and warehousing along with shorter delivery and fulfillment times.

The Port of Tucson is a multi-faceted truck-rail facility partially completed at this time. When fully completed, the Port of Tucson will provide a wide variety of truck-rail oriented transportation options. These options will include intermodal container handling, boxcar access and team track.

The Port of Tucson will establish a transportation and logistics center to assist businesses in Tucson and the Southwest with access to rail and intermodal container options. With its location near the U.S./Mexico border, the Port of Tucson will facilitate increased trade and business relationships between companies north and south of the border.

The facility’s rail access consists of a two-mile siding complemented by an additional 3,000-foot siding. The siding branches into grade level access, dock level access, and intermodal container access and team track facilities. The rail service has been designed with expansion in mind. Rail access to additional properties and warehouse space can be easily facilitated.

In addition to intermodal container handling, the Port of Tucson plans to provide the following services:

  • Local Freight Drayage
  • Premium Truck Brokering
  • Intermodal Team Track Services
  • Rail Spur to Truck Cross-Docking
  • Transborder Truck Drayage
  • LTL (less than truckload) & Air Parcel Forwarding
  • Container-Yard Storage
  • Leased Warehouse Space
  • Frozen Storage
  • Build-to-Suit Warehousing

Workforce Initiative

Southern Arizona recently received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for a community-college training program in transportation, distribution and logistics.

The grant will provide for curriculum development, job training, worker recruitment and K-12 outreach.

For more information, contact Dorothee Harmon at (520) 243-7600 or


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