Friday, December 14, 2012

FEC, Port Everglades sign intermodal site pact

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Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) said Friday it has signed a joint marketing agreement with Port Everglades to promote a new 42.5-acre near-port intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF), to serve south Florida as a major international and domestic freight hub.

The agreement calls for joint promotions including international business development, the creation of promotional materials, shared sponsorships and milestone events.

Groundbreaking for the site is scheduled for early next year, with completion expected in the spring of 2014.

"The ICTF with new technology will allow FEC to efficiently and effectively deliver superior transportation service between South Florida and the eastern United States," said FEC Chief Executive Officer Jim Hertwig. "This agreement enables FEC and Port Everglades to be in a competitive position for additional freight and jobs beyond the completion of the Panama Canal."

The ICTF, to be adjacent to the Southport container terminals at Port Everglades, will facilitate containerized cargo transfer through the port to/from the FEC main line. The facility will handle both domestic and international cargo, resulting in what FEC says will be advantageous transfer and shipping fees for Port Everglades customers. In addition, by relocating the intermodal cargo from the current rail facility on Andrews Avenue, two miles from the port, traffic congestion on State Road 84 will be reduced significantly, FEC says.

"An ICTF adjacent to the Port Everglades pier operations will not only ensure our seaport remains competitive with other U.S. East Coast gateways, but will give our port a cost and time-to-market advantage over many of these gateways, thereby putting more and more South Florida residents to work as a result of the additional business opportunities it will generate," said Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak.

FEC signed a lease agreement with Broward County in March 2012 to build and operate the ICTF for 30 years. Broward County contributed the land for the facility to serve its domestic and international business segments. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently provided FEC with $18 million in grants through its Strategic Intermodal System program. The remaining costs, $35 million, will be covered by the FEC with $30 million from an FDOT State Infrastructure Bank loan and $5 million from FEC capital plan.