The Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) has opened its US$72m intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF) at Port Everglades.
The unique 43-acre site increases the rail company’s intermodal capacity from 100,000 to 450,000 lifts a year, improving the transfer of domestic and international containers between ships and rail. Currently these are transported off-port to rail terminals in Fort Lauderdale or in Miami-Dade County.
The ICTF will provide the opportunity to configure 3,000 m (9,000 ft) long trains within the facility, enabling cargo to move through the port to/from Atlanta and Charlotte in two days, and Nashville and Memphis in three days. FEC’s connections to Class 1 railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern will enable it to reach 70% of the US population within four days.
Additionally, having empty 53-foot domestic containers and trailers adjacent to the port provides more opportunities to trans-load import cargo from ocean containers to domestic containers for inland movement by rail. This will result in more loaded, rather than empty, domestic containers moving north, increasing the efficiency of the intermodal network.
The ICTF is expected to reduce congestion on interstate highways and local roadways because loading and offloading cargo will take place at the port as opposed to offsite facilities. As a result, air emissions will be reduced by diverting an estimated 180,000 trucks from the roads by the year 2027.
Port Everglades’ chief executive and port director, Steve Cernak, said: “The ICTF ensures Port Everglades remains competitive with other US East Coast gateways; most importantly, it will give our port a cost and time-to-market advantage over many of these gateways”.
The State of Florida contributed US$18m in grants to the public-private partnership (PPP) project and awarded a US$30m state infrastructure bank loan to FEC.
“The project will enhance the port’s competitiveness, providing savings on a per container basis by shifting cargo from truck to rail,” said Florida Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary, Richard Biter.
The Florida East Coast Railway is a 351-mile freight rail line and the exclusive rail provider for Port Everglades, PortMiami and Port of Palm Beach. It is connected to the national railroad network in Jacksonville, Florida, providing door-to-door intermodal services across North America.