Read the full report prepared by BST Associates and The Burgel Rail Group on behalf of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District.
Rail service to Humboldt County will require a major investment, through either a new East- West rail alignment or through reconstruction of the former North-South line. In order for this investment to be financially feasible, the rail line will need to generate large volumes of cargo.
A rail line to Humboldt County would face strong competition from existing ports, primarily those on the U.S. West Coast. Humboldt County would face several competitive disadvantages relative to these other ports, including the need to cover the cost of constructing the new line, and the lack of a rail distance advantage.
In addition to the lack of rail infrastructure, waterborne exports of large volumes of bulk commodities (or containers) would likely require substantial investments in new cargo terminals. Also, the Humboldt navigation channel is not as deep as that at most of the competing ports, which would also require a substantial investment.
In conclusion, development of rail service to Humboldt County is likely to be both high cost and high risk.