Crowley to Ship Double Stack Railcars

Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Crowley Liner Services has recently entered into a special service contract with the Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC), owned by the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) and Mi-Jack Corporation. The contract calls for Crowley to move up to 29 former TTX double-stack well cars from the end of the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) track in Port Everglades, Fla., to the beginning of the PCRC track in Manzanillo, Panama.

Each of the units consists of five cars connected as if they were one long articulated car making the total unit more than 200-feet long. Each unit has five wells capable of holding two 40-foot containers stacked. Once received, the cars will be added to others already a part of the fleet in Panama. This new rail service acts as a conveyor belt for cargo to pass across the isthmus. It has allowed larger ships to transit the canal by lightening their load for passage and has allowed the delivery of containers to Cristobal, Colon, Manzanillo, and Coco Solo that are discharged off ships on the other side of the canal at Balboa.

With modifications developed by Crowley's Port Everglades employees to the company's mafi trailers, the cars plus their matching wheel or truck sets will be delivered to Panama over the next year. Once received, the cars will increase the container carrying capacity of the Panama railway by nearly 300, 40-foot-equivalent-units (FEUS).

"The greatest challenge we face in these moves is not whether it can be done or not, but done using resources which Crowley already has in place to provide the customer a cost effective roll on roll off service," said Michael Hopkins, Vice President of Operations, Port Everglades.

The PCRC is a joint venture of KCS and Lanigan Holdings, LLC of Hazelcrest, Ill. The 143-year old, 47.6 -mile railway has recently undergone major enhancements, which have allowed it to better serve as an efficient intermodal link for world commerce and complement the existing transportation infrastructure provided by the Canal, the Colon free trade zone and the port terminals.

Crowley is well known throughout the industry for its ability to handle the large and unusual. For example, in recent months, the company handled the transport of 76 subway cars from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Juan, Puerto Rico for use in the Tren Urbano project. The 90-foot long railcars each measured 10.51-feet wide, 15.83-feet high and weighed 142,530 pounds. In June, the company shipped a 24 x 14 x15-foot water heater from Texas to Honduras and three bottle washers each weighing over 22,000 pounds from St. Louis to the Dominican Republic.

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