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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Watco, Great Northern develop North Dakota terminal; FECR, Port Miami launch intermodal service

Watco Terminal and Port Services and Great Northern Project Development L.P. (GNPD) last last week announced ground has been broken for the South Heart Rail Terminal (SHRT), a multipurpose rail transload terminal and rail-car maintenance shop to be built near South Heart, N.D.

SHRT will serve energy industry constituents and service providers in the Bakken, Three Forks and Tyler shales, as well as other emerging oil and gas formations, Watco and GNPD officials said in a press release. To be served by BNSF Railway Co., the terminal will offer rail, transload, rail-car maintenance, warehousing and materials storage services, and feature loop and manifest tracks to accommodate manifest or unit trains, and long- or short-term car storage needs.

SHRT will receive and transload dry bulk commodities such as frac sand, ceramic proppants and cement, and handle tubular pipe, oil field equipment, building products and other materials. In addition, the terminal will provide off-loading and storage services for aggregates, asphalt and road materials.

A full-service car maintenance facility will be located on site to provide services to tank-car owners and lessees. The shop will provide such services as tank-car inspections, testing, qualifications, preventive maintenance, retrofits, painting and lining. In addition, Watco Compliance Services will provide fleet management, and engineering and regulatory guidance services.

"Breaking ground and moving forward in our plan solidifies our commitment to serving our good customers in the Bakken," said Dan Smith, Watco's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "This facility geographically complements our existing service operations, and will provide an alternative to other congested areas."

Meanwhile, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) and Port Miami plan to offer a new Sunshine Gateway intermodal service through their strategic alliance.

Featuring on-dock intermodal rail capabilities, the ship-to-rail transfer service will enable the port to handle additional volumes and ensure that shipments move more quickly and efficiently, FECR and port officials said in a press release. The service has the potential to reach 70 percent of the U.S. population in four days or less, they said.

In January, FECR and the port plan to hold an event to celebrate the new service.

"In today's global marketplace, shippers often need solutions that go beyond the United States borders and involve multiple modes to move goods from the point of origin to the final destination," said FECR President and Chief Executive Officer James Hertwig. "In order to meet the needs of supply chain managers, it is important for various modes of transportation to work together seamlessly."

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More News from 10/20/2014