The last time you watched a freight train rumble by, did you stop to consider how—or where—it’s railcars were designed and engineered? Or, where their wheels, chassis and frames were made, assembled and painted?
That all came to light when we had the chance to travel to The Greenbrier Companies’ facility in Sahagún, Mexico and discover the people and processes that power production of the railcars carrying materials and goods across nations around the globe, including to and from our marine terminals.
After flying Aeromexico’s nonstop flight from Portland to Mexico City, followed by a short bus ride past cactus fields and brightly colored houses dotting the hillside, our delegation supporting the flight arrived in Sahagún at one of Greenbrier’s 11 manufacturing facilities on three continents: North America, South America & Europe. A two-hour tour of the manufacturing and production processes, and smiles and goodwill greetings from the employees cemented all thoughts about the importance of NAFTA and free trade.
Greenbrier is an Oregon-based manufacturing company employing about 1,700 workers in the company’s U.S. businesses throughout 31 states. These include highly skilled jobs in direct manufacturing; railcar leasing; and related aftermarket railcar wheels, parts and management services.
Portland’s Gunderson (a Greenbrier company) is home to the design and engineering of railcars as well as the company’s flagship manufacturing location. For the North American railcar market, the company sources raw and semi-finished materials from suppliers across the United States, directly supporting nearly 17,000 American jobs, and the sourced materials are assembled at Greenbrier facilities in Portland and Mexico. Finished railcars are then shipped to customers throughout North America, including leasing, shipping companies and railroads.
So, next time you see a freight train roll by, consider not only the importance of the goods aboard, but know the chances are good that the railcars may have been designed and engineered right here in Portland.