FEC ICTF at Port Everglades Grand Opening
The Florida East Coast Railway on Monday officially opened its new intermodal container transfer facility at Port Everglades.
The 43-acre rail transfer center increases the railroad's intermodal capacity at the Fort Lauderdale port from 100,000 to 450,000 lifts per year and reduces local traffic congestion and dray costs because it eliminates the need to haul international containers to-and-from off-dock rail yards, officials said.
The intermodal facility is relatively unique because the FEC Railway will build 9,000-foot unit trains on six tracks with a combination of domestic and international cargo. FEC officials said they can interchange with the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads in Jacksonville and have cargo in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., within two days, and in the Midwest within four days.
The facility includes rubber-tyred gantry cranes and a marshalling yard.
The FEC is relocating its Andrews Ave. domestic intermodal yard to the new site, taking an estimated 180,00 truck trips off the road by 2029.
Having empty 53-foot domestic containers adjacent to the port provides more opportunities to transload import cargo from 40-foot ocean containers to domestic boxes for inland transport.
Financing the $72 million project involved public and private entities with the state of Florida contributing $18 million in grants and the FEC borrowing $30 million from a state infrastructure bank. Port Everglades provided the land and leased it to the FEC for 30 years.
Port Everglades is preparing for more container volume and to handle bigger ships with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal. It is adding berths and five super post-Panamax cranes, and hopes to soon get Army Corps approval to begin preliminary planning and engineering to deepen its navigation channel to 50 feet. The port authority plans to pay those costs on its own until it can get congressional authorization and appropriations for the deepening.