The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the opening allows for the expansion of rail capacity for cargo destined for outside the region and thus will reduce congestion and emissions and get goods to their final destination more efficiently and at lower cost.
The new GCT Bayonne ExpressRail Port Jersey facility culminates a $600 million port authority capital investment program dating back to the 1990s that established direct rail access to on-dock and near-dock intermodal rail services at all of its major marine terminals. The facilities were designed to reduce the port’s historical heavy reliance on trucks to transport cargo that arrives at the port via ship to its final destination, the port authority said.
Trucks still account for moving 85 percent of the containers on and off port terminals today, according to the port authority, which said the opening of the final rail facility will allow the port to advance its strategic five-year goal to handle more than 900,000 rail lifts a year.
“This port is a pivotal gateway not only for goods destined for the 27 million consumers in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area but for the millions of others in markets within 250 miles of the port,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Expanding our ability to move cargo by rail is a smart business decision that ensures that we can continue to move cargo expeditiously through the port and do it quickly, cost efficiently and in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way.”
The initial phase of the ExpressRail Port Jersey intermodal facility, which began service Monday, consists of four tracks designed for active loading and unloading of cargo from the GCT Bayonne terminal that connect to a lead track to and from the main freight rail network. It also consists of two high-efficiency, all-electric, regenerative-powered, widespan, dual-cantilevered, rail-mounted gantry cranes featuring LED lighting to load and unload containers in the intermodal yard.
By the middle of this year, the facility will be fully built out to 9,600 linear feet of an eight-track working pad, two lead tracks, as well as additional support and train storage track, the port authority said.
The intermodal facility will help support the port’s cargo growth and have an annual capacity of 250,000 container lifts. It will connect the GCT Bayonne terminal to CSX and Norfolk Southern’s rail network to reach key inland markets.
Every container moved at GCT Bayonne ExpressRail Port Jersey eliminates 1.5 truck trips, according to the port authority, which said that over the life of this intermodal facility, emission reductions resulting from the switch from truck to rail transport are expected to total 415 tons of nitrogen oxide and 108 tons of particulate matter — or the equivalent of taking more than 45,300 cars off the road. It also will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 18,300 tons annually.
The cost of the GCT Bayonne ExpressRail Port Jersey facility is $149 million, including $56 million for GCT USA to build the work pads. The $149 million is recoverable over time through monies collected through the cargo facility charge, a fee assessed on cargo shipped through the Port of New York and New Jersey to cover the costs of critical road, rail and security infrastructure projects, the port authority said.