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Rail News: Intermodal

Ports: Some stronger monthly volumes, a few cleaner locomotives

The Port of Los Angeles in March handled 675,274 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up a whopping 34.2 percent compared with March 2013 volume.

Import container volume soared 41.5 percent to 327,497 TEUs, export volume climbed 21.6 percent to 187,826 TEUs, total loaded container volume jumped 33.6 percent to 515,323 TEUs and empty container volume rose 36.3 percent to 159,951 TEUs.

Through the first quarter, the port's volume totaled 1.92 million TEUs, up 7.5 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

At the Port of Long Beach, Calif., March volume totaled 477,209 TEUs, down 1.9 percent year over year. Imports dipped 0.7 percent to 223,432 TEUs, exports declined 1.5 percent to 153,883 TEUs and empties fell 5.4 percent to 99,894 TEUs.

In the Southeast, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) registered 85,616 pier containers at its two ports in March, the highest volume since August 2008.
"March is traditionally a seasonally strong month. The SCPA saw an 11 percent year-over-year increase in pier container volumes for the month, with growth of both import and export cargo," said SPCA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome in a press release. "We expect April to be a strong month as well."

Overall, the ports in Charleston and Georgetown handled 150,516 TEUs in March, up 10 percent versus March 2013.

Meanwhile, Port Manatee in Palmetto, Fla., recently deployed two “green” locomotives on the Port Manatee Railroad, its short line that links the Tampa Bay seaport to a CSX Transportation mainline.

Manufactured by National Railway Equipment Co., the 2GS-14B diesel-electric locomotives will replace a switcher built in 1958. The units are powered by a pair of 700-horsepower, computer-controlled engines designed to maximize efficiency.

Th locomotives are expected to reduce emissions of nitrous oxide and particulate matter by as much as 90 percent, and cut fuel costs by about 60 percent, said Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras in a press release. A $2.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant covered most of the cost to, purchase locomotives, with the Florida Department of Transportation and Port Manatee each contributing about $264,000.

In Washington state, the Port of Tacoma received a $600,000 Diesel Emission Reduction Act program grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deploy a greener switcher.

The port will partner with Tacoma Rail to repower or replace a locomotive with a cleaner engine and idle-reduction technology designed reduce emissions by more than 50 percent. The project calls for repowering an EPA Tier 0-compliant switcher with a Tier 3-plus-compliant engine equipped with an automatic start-stop system.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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