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Rail News: Intermodal

Three ports tout promising developments


The Mississippi State Port Authority (MSPA) late last week unveiled a new $2 million security gate complex at the Port of Gulfport, which is served by Kansas City Southern.

Featuring three inbound and three outbound lanes, the complex serves as the West Pier Terminal security gate. Previously, the entrance had only one inbound and one outbound lane, authority officials said in a press release.

"This complex represents a significant improvement in the way we process vehicles into and out of the port," said MSPA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Daniels. "It's an important piece in our ongoing efforts to restore and improve the port, as well as prepare for future growth and increased cargo volumes."

The complex was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Authority's Port Security Grant Program.

Meanwhile, the Port of Houston Authority last week awarded a $1.3 million contract to Grant MacKay Co. Inc. to demolish buildings for a turning notch project.

The project calls for razing concrete and steel building structures at multiple locations at the port's turning basin, including asbestos abatement, security lighting, fencing and camera relocation work.

The authority also approved a plan to begin seeking bids for Bayport and Barbours Cut channel and berthing area improvements so the project remains on schedule for completion in 2014. The channels and berths at the container facilities will be deepened to 45 feet to match the Houston Ship Channel's depth.

The Port of Houston is served by KCS, BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad, and switching services are provided by the Port Terminal Railroad Association.

In Canada, the Port of Montreal cited potential benefits from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement reached last week between Canada and the European Union.

The port is the natural gateway for Europe, and European markets already account for 39 percent of the port's total traffic and about 65 percent of container traffic, Montreal Port Authority (MPA) officials said in a press release. In addition, Quebec accounts for 35 percent of Canadian exports moved to Europe, particularly goods transported by container, they said.

Among the main exports projected to benefit from the trade agreement are agri-food products, such as pork and beef, and certain finished and semi-finished products, including aeronautic parts, and pulp and paper.

"We are the leading port on the North American East Coast for trade between northern Europe and North America's industrial heartland," said MPA President and Chief Executive Officer Sylvie Vachon.

The port operates its own rail network, which connects with CN and Canadian Pacific lines.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/28/2013