With the significant expansion of its ExpressRail system and enhanced inland connections, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is advancing its role as the gateway of choice for speeding cargo to a growing number of destinations in the Midwest, New England, Canada and beyond.
ExpressRail Staten Island, launched in 2007, brings ship-to-rail service to the Howland Hook Marine Terminal (operated by New York Container Terminal, Inc.), with five tracks linked to the nation's rail freight network. With initial capability of handling as many as 100,000 containers a year, the 39-acre rail transfer operation has ample room for expansion.
Significant projects - $22 million worth - completed at New Jersey Marine Terminals will build upon the efficiencies already in place with additional tracks at both ExpressRail Elizabeth, serving Maher and APM terminals, and ExpressRail Newark, serving Port Newark Container Terminal, Inc.
One of these projects, the Corbin Street Intermodal Support Yard, includes five new tracks for multiple arriving and departing trains, each as long as 10,000 feet. The new yard is designed to offer capacity for one million lifts a year while adding flexibility and full utilization of on-dock terminals to serve container shipments to more destinations throughout the Midwest.
Also completed is a double lead track serving ExpressRail Elizabeth to accommodate arriving and departing trains simultaneously. The project augments efficiencies derived from a recently completed grade-crossing separation.
All told, the Port Authority will invest over $600 million in the ExpressRail system by the time it's finished. When complete, ExpressRail will be able to move 1.5 million cargo containers a year.
The Port Authority is working closely with railroads and federal, state and local authorities to ensure funding of additional projects, such as the Liberty Corridor, which encompasses several highway and rail projects, enabling greater flexibility for double-stacked high-cube containers moving to and from the port.
Off-dock rail projects undertaken in partnership with New York and New Jersey state transportation authorities and railroads are ensuring that inland rail-network connections furnish just as efficient a flow of containers as do on-dock facilities.
One continually growing rail market for the Port of New York and New Jersey is Canada, where key destinations such as Montreal and Toronto are much closer to New York and New Jersey than they are, for example, to Halifax. The proximity advantage is augmented by highly competitive inland costs.
It makes perfect geographic sense for Canada-bound cargo to come through the Port of New York and New Jersey, as it is typically the first port of call for vessels coming from Asia through the Panama Canal.
Already, the Port of New York and New Jersey offers more than two dozen direct sailings a week from Asia - more than any other East Coast port - and, with the expansion of the canal, scheduled for completion in 2014, as well as the future addition of more deepwater berths, such rail routings are anticipated to accommodate still greater volumes.
From a convenience and reliability standpoint, the all-water services combine with unparalleled rail offerings to facilitate less container handling and more timely arrivals of cargo at final destination than mini-land-bridge transport via the West Coast.
Responding to growing demand, the port handled over 377,000 intermodal containers in 2008 - more than double its 2000 volume - and still greater increases are projected for years to come.