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Rail News: Intermodal

Tampa port enters pact with major auto processor

The Tampa Port Authority’s board in late December approved a terminal-use agreement with AMPORTS to process new automobiles, trucks and other vehicles for delivery by rail and truck from the port to Southeast markets inside and outside of Florida.

AMPORTS’ expertise in processing and handling new automobile shipments will add diversity to the port’s cargo mix, authority officials said in a press release. The authority and AMPORTS signed a letter of intent in July to develop a new terminal dedicated to auto imports and exports, and the board’s action “effectively bringing this plan to much-anticipated fruition,” they said. Partners in the terminal and auto-processing venture include CSX Transportation, AMPORTS and Ports America.

Mexico’s growing capacity for automotive production is spurring demand for efficient and low-cost distribution to the U.S. market, where an estimated one in 10 cars sold are manufactured in Mexico, port officials said. Florida soon will surpass New York as the third-most populous state, and distributing new cars from the center of Florida provides an optimal supply chain for the growing trade lane, they said.

In addition to processing vehicles imported from Mexico, AMPORTS and the port plan to establish an auto-processing gateway for U.S.-produced vehicles destined for the Latin America and Caribbean markets. AMPORTS maintains nine auto-processing operations in the United States and Mexico, and processes more than 1 million vehicles annually in North America.

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More News from 1/6/2014