A dedicated, refrigerated shuttle-train service that was supposed to start transporting perishable products directly between the Port of Tampa and an inland port in Indiana as of October has still not gotten off the ground.
The Green Express is a start-up transportation wholesaler that is developing the service to move produce and other perishable imports, primarily from Central America, as well as Florida-grown fruit and vegetables on a through train operated by CSX Transportation to Kingsbury, Ind. It plans to haul agriculture products from Midwest growers back to Florida for export or domestic consumption. (See the feature story "Cool train trainsload
" in the October issue of American Shipper
One of the service's unique features is that much of the cargo will be hauled in refrigerated boxcars after being transloaded at either end from ocean or domestic truck containers. The Green Express will also offer intermodal service, which is the predominant mode used by a few other providers in different parts of the country.
The project is being organized by Providence Logistics, a three-year-old company created by two former real estate veterans to develop rail-served inland logistics parks, in conjunction with the Port of Tampa.
In mid-August, Green Express signed a letter of intent to build an on-dock transload facility at the Port of Tampa. Company and port officials said in interviews that intermodal service would begin in October and that construction of the new facility would commence in November.
What once sounded like a done deal still must go through several steps to reach fruition. Contacted after American Shipper
published its October story, Tampa Port Authority spokesman Andy Fobes said the port's board of commissioners was scheduled to approve the lease deal at its November meeting. The Green Express project, however, was not on the agenda when the meeting was held Nov. 18.
"All along, our process of getting the project started hasn't stopped. As any major project with many moving pieces, we are going through engineering revisions, and other items key to the facilities' operational efficiency. Once we have all these lined up, we will move to the approval process," Raul Alfonso, chief commercial officer for the Tampa Port Authority, said in an email response.
Green Express officials say they have investors lined up for the project and anticipate starting sometime early next year.