Union Pacific Corp. said it will increase use of a rail-truck freight terminal near Southern California ports in an effort to eliminate 500,000 highway trips and reduce road congestion on local freeways.

The change will move Asian imports and other cargo through a Union Pacific terminal three miles from the Los Angeles port. The shift, being made in the next several weeks, will help cut traffic on Interstate 710.

Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. are trying to expand California rail capacity to handle surging import growth. The Port of Long Beach moved 1.1 million more 20-foot equivalent containers in 2004 than 2003, while the Port of Los Angeles moved 100,000 more containers. About 23,000 port-related truck trips are made on the 710 each weekday.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. is negotiating with the Port of Los Angeles to lease port-owned land in Wilmington to build a near-dock rail facility north of the port and adjacent to an existing Union Pacific Corp. operation. Upon completion in 2009, the facility would eliminate an estimated 1 million truck trips off the freeway per year.

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