Port Everglades broke ground on a $73-million combined on-port international and domestic cargo rail facility near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who participated in the ground-breaking ceremony, also committed $13 million to begin work on the Southport Turning Notch Extension project, which will add more dock space for Port Everglades. The new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at the port will lead the way for Florida to attract new international business to the state through its seaports and support the creation of an estimated 135,000 jobs for Florida families.
Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak said, “An ICTF on Port Everglades property will not only ensure our seaport remains competitive with other U.S. East Coast gateways, but will give our port a cost and time-to-market advantage over many of these gateways, thereby putting more and more South Florida residents to work as a result of the additional business opportunities it will generate. This unique public-private partnership is consistent with Gov. Scott’s efforts to expand support to Florida’s ports, leveraging private sector capital to complete the project.”
Florida East Coast Railway’s (FEC) new 42.5-acre near-dock ICTF will facilitate containerized cargo transfer through the port to/from the FEC mainline by mid-2014. Both domestic and international cargo will be handled at the site, which will result in the advantageous transfer for Port Everglades customers and local companies.
FEC signed a long-term agreement with Broward County in March 2012 to build, operate and maintain the ICTF. Construction costs are estimated to be $53 million, which is funded by an $18 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and $35 million from FEC (including a $30 million State Infrastructure Bank loan from FDOT). Broward County contributed 42.5 acres of Port Everglades property, valued at $20 million, for the ICTF.
FDOT is also constructing a $40-million overpass to elevate I-595/Eller Drive to allow the trains to access the port at ground level for the ICTF. Construction on the overpass began in July 2011 and will be completed in 2014. The project will elevate traffic over the rail tracks, allowing for a better traffic flow and increased port activity.