Construction of a $73 million, 43-acre intermodal rail facility that will handle almost half of the fresh produce entering Florida by ship has begun at Port Everglades according to the port authority. Crews from Jacksonville-based Florida East Coast Railway are installing tracks and crane pads for the intermodal container transfer facility at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., port.
Scheduled to open this summer, the rail operation is to be used to transfer domestic and international shipping containers between ship and rail. The operation, at the Southport container cargo area, replaces a 12-acre intermodal yard that is several miles from the port, according to a news release.
Workers are constructing buildings and the road leading to the facility is ready to be paved, but once it is all done the facility will allow the railroad to assemble 9,000-foot unit trains without blocking city streets.
When the facility is finished cargo will be able to move through the port to and from Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., in two days; and to Nashville, Tenn., and Memphis, Tenn., in three days, according to the release. The railroad’s connections to CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads should also allow rail service to 70 percent of the U.S. population within four days, according to the release.
Ellen Kennedy, the port’s director of communications, said that during fiscal year 2013, the port handled 928,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent units). Of those, refrigerated cargos accounted for 134,597 TEUS or 15% of volume, with imports constituting 75 percent of refrigerated container movement.
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