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Friday, January 18, 2013    

Florida port breaks ground for container transfer facility


Florida Gov. Rick Scott yesterday helped break ground on an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at Port Everglades in Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale. Scott also committed $13 million to the port to begin work on its Southport Turning Notch Extension project, which will add more dock space.

To open by mid-2014, Florida East Coast Railway L.L.C.'s (FEC) new 42.5-acre near-dock ICTF will facilitate containerized cargo transfers through the port to and from the railroad's mainline. The ICTF will be unique compared with similar facilities at other ports because both domestic and international cargo will be handled at the site, port officials said in a prepared statement.

"An ICTF on Port Everglades property 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," said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak.

FEC signed a long-term agreement with Broward County in March 2012 to build, operate and maintain the ICTF. The $53 million project will be funded by an $18 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and $35 million from FEC, including a $30 million State Infrastructure Bank loan from FDOT. Broward County contributed the land for the ICTF, which is valued at $20 million.

"The new ICTF will allow the FEC to efficiently and effectively deliver superior transportation service between south Florida and the southeastern United States," said FEC President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Hertwig. "This facility will be able to handle the additional cargo of larger ships that are coming out of Europe today and when the Panama Canal expansion is complete and beyond."

FDOT also is constructing a $40 million overpass at the port to elevate I-595/Eller Drive, enabling trains to access the port at ground level for the ICTF. Construction began in July 2011 and is slated for completion in 2014.

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