Sep 29, 2022 - News

Utah Inland Port Authority hits pause on major capital projects

A trailer truck next to a stack of containers.

A truck delivers a shipping container at RSD Container Yard Services on Nov. 22, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Getty Images

The Utah Inland Port Authority is taking a pause on all major capital projects, including a proposed transloading facility, until they develop a master plan, reports.

Details: The proposed facility, estimated to cost tens of millions, would be located next to Union Pacific Railroad's intermodal terminal, where imports from California ports would be loaded into domestic trailers for re-shipment.

Driving the news: Criticism of the facility comes on the heels of a new report doubting its ability to generate revenue and limit supply-chain emissions. Port opponents, Stop the Polluting Port Coalition, commissioned the report.

What the report says: "The proposed UIPA facility will have a difficult time securing a substantial amount of business," wrote the study's author Robert C. Leachman, a professor of industrial engineering and operations research at UC Berkeley.

  • Leachman said he was dubious of the facility's value for retailers operating regional distribution centers in the greater Salt Lake City area or outside the Intermountain region.
  • He added most Utah exports are high-value goods like semiconductors, aircraft parts and essential oils typically transported via airplane.

What they're saying: "If our planning efforts determine a transload facility is right for this market, there will be robust engagement with neighborhoods on the west side of Salt Lake County and the business community," UIPA's new executive director Ben Hart said in a statement to

Between the lines: A limited state audit presented at the Utah Capitol last week also scrutinized the port authority's sole-source contracts, lack of transparency, and need to complete its Northwest Quadrant Master Development Plan.


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