OmniTRAX to Manage Texas-based International Railroad, Develop Industrial Park
- Jun 16, 2014
OmniTRAX has signed a 30-year deal to manage the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad, a short line railway based in Brownsville, Texas.
Additionally, OmniTRAX will develop a large-scale industrial park on land owned by the Brownsville Navigation District of Cameron County, the parent governmental body of the Port of Brownsville.
“For us, it’s a great market with huge upside potential for both rail transportation and industrial real estate development,” Kevin Shuba, OmniTRAX’s CEO, told Commercial Property Executive. “For the Port, OmniTRAX delivers added expertise and experience across their rail and property operations. The increasing trade with Mexico, the skilled workforce and the immediate access to the Gulf all add up to a recipe for growth.”
The Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad travels through 45 miles of 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 Port of Brownsville currently has nearly 40,000 acres of land available for development and OmniTRAX will work with the BND to develop 1,200 acres for a world-class industrial park.
According to Shuba, the company is always looking for opportunities to bring its expertise in operating short-line railroads and developing industrial real estate parcels to new markets, and this relationship hits its sweet spot, as there is a significant opportunity to take advantage of the growing strength of the Mexican economy to boost the economy of South Texas.
“Now that the deal is closed, we are marketing these lands for industrial development by leveraging our experience and extensive industry contacts with the goal of identifying industries that will bring the greatest economic benefit to the railway, the port and the community,” he said. “Most important, our engagement means new jobs and economic development for an important region of the country.”
As part of the deal, the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railroad will continue to be led by president & COO Norma Torres, with OmniTRAX expected to retain all personnel.