The month of August marked an impressive milestone in the Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway’s (BRG) 34-year history, with a record 5,045 loaded railcars handled at the Port of Brownsville.
The short-line railroad, managed and operated by OmniTRAX, has experienced a record-breaking number of car volumes for 2020 and according to Norma Torres, BRG president & COO, if the trend continues, BRG will see a 15% increase from the 41,207 loaded cars moved in 2019.
Like other companies, BRG has faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has persevered as carload volumes continue to increase thanks to an uptick in activity by port tenants.
“The growth at the Port of Brownsville has directly impacted our carloads which continue to grow,” said Torres. “We have not had to furlough anyone (during the pandemic). We are actually looking to hire more people to keep up with the growth.”
Torres projects the BRG transportation department will increase its workforce from 13 to 20 employees by the end of 2020.
The Port of Brownsville joined the BRG in observing National Rail Safety Week (Sept. 21 – Sept. 27) to raise awareness of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public to stay safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way.
BRG general manager Fernando Gonzalez said communication is key to maintaining safety standards.
“One way we commit to safety is advising our employees of existing truck traffic. Although trains have the right of way our crews are encouraged to use common sense and anticipate where there is heavy traffic so they can provide protection at rail crossings,” Gonzalez said.