The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday awarded $5 million worth of grants to four logistics projects in the state, including $2.5 million for the South Florida Logistics Center in Miami, from the state's new Intermodal Logistics Center Infrastructure Support Program.
The annual program requires a 50 percent match by project sponsors. State officials have made trade infrastructure and freight growth a top priority in recent years.
South Florida Logistics Services, a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries and sister company to the Florida East Coast Railway, is developing the SFLC on a 400-acre tract adjacent to Miami International Airport and the FEC Railway's Hialeah yard. The rail-served logistics park eventually will have 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space. Under the plan, FEC will shuttle 40-foot ocean containers from the ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale to the facility where they can be transloaded into 53-foot domestic containers for transport to the Southeast and other regions, as well as stored or reconfigured for final delivery. The multimodal facility will also process air cargo and benefit from designation as a Foreign Trade Zone where duties can be deferred on goods that are re-exported or postponed until entry into the U.S. market.
The state grant will be used to build access roads between the SFLC and the Hialeah Yard and 67th Ave., truck loading ramps and internal traffic circulation roads.
The first building in the logistics park was recently completed and the rail shuttle to PortMiami is scheduled to begin operation by the end of the year, a company spokesperson said.
Florida East Coast Industries and FEC Railway are owned by Fortress Investments.
FDOT also funded the Keystone Intermodal Logistics Center in Jacksonville, the Port of Panama City's Intermodal Distribution Center and Port Manatee's Commerce Center.
The Keystone intermodal faciity will receive a $1.4 million grant to construct 2,100 linear feet of new rail to reach the terminal for container, bulk and break-bulk transfers to rail of ocean, and truck cargo. Keystone is a privately operated bulk ocean terminal near the Port of Jacksonville's Talleyrand terminal.
The Port of Panama City will receive $900,000 to support the construction of access roads, lay-down area and a 20-car rail intermodal cargo transfer facility that can handle bulk cargo.
Port Manatee will receive $175,000 to help construct a parallel 450-foot rail spur and a 14,000-square foot loading ramp to expand existing bulk carrier intermodal services at the intermodal facility.
FDOT is now accepting applications for next $5 million allocation in 2014. - Eric Kulisch