The port business has made movements in the direction of sustainability as it continues to expand. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has invested in projects to deal with the increase in cargo in a sustainable way in order to expedite cargo movement while reducing the amount truck trips required annually, uncoupling growth from carbon emissions and reducing the number of trucks on the road.
The PANYNJ ‘s ExpressRail System is a comprehensive $600 million rail program comprised of dedicated rail facilities, support track and rail yards for each of the port’s major container terminals to establish direct access to on-dock rail service for its terminals. Facilities include ExpressRail Elizabeth, ExpressRail Newark, and ExpressRail Staten Island.
ExpressRail service now handles more than a third of the cargo that feeds the Eastern Seaboard, with coverage to every major city in the Midwest, Northeast, and Eastern Canada. The service partners with CSX, Norfolk Southern, and CP Rail to provide same-day transfers between ship and rail which services up to 100 million customers within 24 hours.
A fourth on-dock rail terminal is now under construction at Port Jersey in Bayonne. Last December, Global Container Terminals (GCT) and the Port Authority broke ground for the ExpressRail Port Jersey facility which will be located next to the recently expanded GCT Bayonne container terminal.
The intermodal facility is scheduled for completion in mid-2018 and will connect the PANYNJ’s GCT Bayonne terminal to CSX and Norfolk Southern’s extensive rail network, reaching key inland markets. This project will complete the $600 million initiative.
The ExpressRail Port Jersey facility is in compliance with GCT Bayonne’s Green Marine certification and will have 9,600 feet of track and will be serviced by high-efficiency, electric rail mounted gantry cranes with LED lighting.
Over the life of the intermodal facility, switching from truck to rail transport is expected to reduce emissions by 415 tons of nitrogen oxide and 108 tons of particulate matter. Every container lifted to a rail car eliminates 1.5 truck trips. The facility is expected to eliminate 375,000 trucks from highways annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 18,300 tons a year.
Construction costs for the Bayonne intermodal facility are supported by a $56 million investment from the Port Authority, and the funding will come from a per-container fee assessed on cargo shipped through the Port of New York and New Jersey to cover the costs of road, rail and security infrastructure projects.
“As the port business continues to grow with the arrival of new, lower emissions, larger ships, it’s critical that we invest in projects to deal with the increase in cargo in a sustainable way, maintaining our quality of life,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “This project will not only expedite the movement of cargo through the region, but will take hundreds of thousands of truck trips off the road annually, providing a significant environmental benefit to the region.