New railroad launched by Port San Antonio Watco to meet Eagle Ford demand

Port San Antonio

Port San Antonio and Watco Companies inaugurated a rail service that clears the way for growth at the Port’s East Kelly Railport. The San Antonio Central Railroad (SACRR) now operates within the 350-acre site. San Antonio Central also transfers railcars from nearby Union Pacific and BNSF Railway trains and delivers the cargo to the front door of the growing number of logistics, manufacturing and warehousing businesses at the Port. 

In addition to operating the region’s newest rail service, Watco Companies has completed the first phase of track expansions at East Kelly Railport. Over the summer, the firm doubled track at the Railport from four to almost eight miles.

Port San Antonio began operations at the Railport in 2007, initially attracting businesses specializing in railcar repairs as well as transloading and warehousing firms that serve the region’s construction and retail industries.

The Railport has since added customers in the recycling, manufacturing and energy sectors. In particular, strong demand from oil and gas drilling projects on the Eagle Ford Shale have driven growth at the Railport. Between fiscal 2010 and 2011, rail volume grew over 75%—from 2,594 railcars served in FY2010 to 4,556 in FY2011. In FY2012, which concluded September 30, a new record was set with 5,167 railcars processed at the Railport.

The new activity has been largely driven by demand for transloading services for drilling equipment and supplies headed to Eagle Ford Shale well sites. The track expansion now allows businesses at the Railport to serve up to 20,000 railcars per year.

“Watco is proud of our new service to customers in South Texas,” said Rick Webb, CEO of Watco Companies. “The dynamic growth of the Eagle Ford Shale and other important rail-dependent industries in the region make this the right time for us to provide our expertise and range of services.”

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