Each year the Chamber’s George Francis Train International Business Commemorative recognizes a Tacoma-Pierce County business leader or company who has made a significant contribution to international business. The commemorative was developed to honor local growth in international business and significant economic and cultural contribution to Tacoma-Pierce County.
This year’s award was presented by Dennis Johnson, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, the award’s sponsor, and given to BNSF Railway during the World Trade Center Tacoma’s Globe Awards dinner Feb. 2.
BNSF Railway has been a major transporter into and out of Tacoma since it’s predecessor company Northern Pacific (NP), under the influence of George Francis Train, selected Tacoma as its western terminus in 1872. In 1901 the NP and Great Northern (GN) jointly purchased the CB, providing the two lines with direct access to Chicago and the markets of the Midwest and South. Shortly afterward, the NP and GN joined again in constructing the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway, with almost 1,000 miles of mainline serving productive areas of Washington and Oregon.
The Burlington Northern was created in 1970 from the merger of all these railroads. After its merger with Santa Fe in 1995, BNSF has become the nations second largest railroad, now grown to 32,000 route miles. With more than 150 train movements throughout Washington state daily, BNSF continues to set record volumes of freight. It experiences double-digit growth in all its business units, with container imports slated to triple over the next two decades. And, it continues millions of dollars in annual capital investments, about $150 million in 2005, about $2 billion system-wide, in infrastructure for local-national-international service. In partnership with the Port of Tacoma and local customers, BNSF works to continue as a strong employer and to provide freight movements that touch the daily lives of our region’s citizens.