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Thursday, October 24, 2013    

Rail-related developments brew at three ports


The Port of Oswego Authority received a $192,000 federal grant through the Northern Border Regional Commission to construct a rail spur and create additional rail-car storage space at the Port of Oswego, N.Y., U.S. Reps. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) announced Tuesday.

The grant is in addition to a $1.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery V grant the authority received from the U.S. Department of Transportation in August.

The port plans to construct a heavy rail-embedded roadway connecting its main east terminal to a six-acre open-storage area. The work would nearly double the port's storage and operation area, and relieve yard congestion. Two additional side tracks would be built to increase storage capacity from 16 to 48 rail cars.

The project will help the port accommodate increased rail traffic, Maffei and Hanna said in a joint statement.

Another rail-related project is brewing in Florida. Representatives from railroads, ocean carriers, major automakers and other interested parties are slated to tour Port Manatee on Nov. 18 to get a first-hand look at a roll-on/roll-off terminal under development with The Pasha Group.

Located near the entrance to Tampa Bay, Port Manatee aims to increase its role as a hub for vehicle imports and exports. On Sept. 19, the port signed an agreement with The Pasha Group to develop a 172,500-square-foot vehicle processing facility and terminal.

As the closest Florida port to Mexico's automaking centers in Veracruz and Altamira, Port Manatee's strategic location "will offer considerable time and cost savings for OEMs," said Carlos Buqueras, the port's executive director, in a press release.

The port operates its own short line/switching railroad that connects with a CSX Transportation line.

Meanwhile, the Port of Virginia reported that rail cargo in September reached an all-time high 35.8 percent of total volume, marking the fourth month this year that rail cargo exceeded 35 percent as a percentage of total volume.

The Norfolk port handled more than 185,185 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in September, with imports up 4.5 percent to 87,398 TEUs and exports down 0.9 percent to 97,787 TEUs.

"We continue to set new records, and last month was the best September we've ever had," said Rodney Oliver, interim executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, in a press release. "The port has experienced double-digit rail growth, year over year, in 10 of the last 11 months."

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