With the Port Authority’s ship-to-rail facility at the Elizabeth Port Authority Marine Terminal nearing capacity, the agency announced that it has hired a contractor to design and build a larger, state-of-the-art ExpressRail that will provide shippers with an efficient way to get their goods to market and to allow the Port to better handle projected increases in cargo.
The $20 million facility – to be built by Conti Enterprises, Inc., of South Plainfield, N.J., on a 70-acre site that will straddle the reconfigured Maher and APM terminals
– will have the ability to handle up to one million containers a year when fully operational. It is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2004 and to replace an existing facility adjacent to the Maher Terminal property. ExpressRail set a new terminal record in 2001, handling 200,854 containers, up 12.8 percent from the 178,002 containers handled in 2000. Through September of this year, ExpressRail’s volumes are up 17 percent over the same period last year.
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, “This investment will ensure that our port has the infrastructure needed to increase market share and to remain the leading destination on the East Coast for international shippers. The rail facility also will
help remove truck traffic from New Jersey’s congested highways, improving the state’s air quality. By upgrading our facilities, we will ensure that our port can sustain its high level of cargo activity, which supports more than 229,000 port-related jobs in New Jersey and contributes more than $25 billion annually to the region’s economic activity.”
Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, “ExpressRail is a great success story. We clearly recognize the need to build on the proud reputation that our port has built with the international shipping community. The port’s infrastructure and facilities have served us well in the past, but new investment is needed to meet the demands of the modern maritime industry. This new facility will help give our port a competitive edge and will allow it to remain an economic force in the region.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “We have experienced unprecedented cargo growth at our port, and we project annual increases of 4.2 percent a year for the next 20 years. This new rail facility – coupled with projects to deepen the harbor channels
and improve landside access – will enable the port to support this level of growth.”
The new ExpressRail facility will take approximately 14 months to build and will consist of eight sets of tracks. The facility will be complemented by a 13-acre, double stack rail storage facility at Portside Yard in Port Newark-Elizabeth, which opened in 2001.
To support ExpressRail, a section of McLester Street on the Elizabeth Port Authority Marine Terminal was depressed to allow for a new railroad bridge to the
more intermodal facility. The road reopened over the Columbus Day weekend. The rail flyover’s construction is now in its final stages, including finishing touches on the bridge, completing the new rail tracks, and restoring the site. This project will be completed by January.
The existing 32-acre ExpressRail terminal opened in 1991. Operated by Maher
Terminals, the on-dock rail service offers highly specialized straddle carriers, reach stackers and other equipment that allow fast, efficient transfer of cargo from ship to rail. Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads each operate one train a day in and out of the terminal.