Railroad/intermodal shipping: CSX, New Jersey roll out Liberty Corridor Freightway
October 11, 2010
Class I railroad carrier CSX, the state of New Jersey and the Port of New York and New Jersey recently heralded the opening of the Liberty Corridor Freightway.
CSX described the Liberty Corridor Freightway as a major public-private partnership that provides expanded access to the Port of New York and New Jersey. The corridor, according to CSX will enable double-stack intermodal freight to move from the port to inland destinations, increase train capacity, improve service levels and expedite freight flows to and from inland ports.
“The Liberty Corridor Freightway will be a jobs and economic activity engine for our state, which is the primary reason I worked to create the Liberty Corridor initiative in Congress,” Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in a statement. “This particular portion of the initiative is crucial for allowing New Jersey business owners to easily sell and purchase goods to and from around the world.”
The Liberty Corridor was established under Menendez as a Project of National and Regional Significance in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), according to New Jersey Department of Transportation.
A CSX spokesman told LM that the total cost of the Liberty Corridor Freightway was roughly $20 million, with about half the funding coming from SAFETEA-LU appropriations and CSX providing the difference.
“[This project] does what any transportation infrastructure public-private partnership tries to do—be environmentally beneficial, provide more service options and open up new markets,” said the CSX spokesman. “When you think about it, a container hits a port and it may not hit an actual city street until it reaches the Midwest or beyond because it could be loaded on a dock at a port and moved by rail to the Midwest. It is also economically beneficial and eases demand on regional infrastructure and in general it benefits everyone.
The New Jersey DOT said that the Liberty Corridor’s transportation system connects the state, national and global economies with the largest seaport on the East Coast, the 13th largest airport in the nation and a transcontinental rail network. And almost 180 million consumers in the northeast region are within a one-day truck drive from the Liberty Corridor. The seaport currently provides a gateway for the state, national and global economy, including 236 nations, said the DOT.
CSX officials said that with the Liberty Corridor Freightway now open, intermodal freight can move on CSX trains throughout the U.S. and relieve stress on highways, as one Liberty Corridor Freightway train carries the equivalent amount of cargo of 250 trucks while emitting one-third of the nitrous oxide and particulate matter.
Anthony B. Hatch, principal of New York-based ABH Consulting told LM that hauls via the Liberty Corridor Freightway will be very beneficial, due to the various benefits intermodal offers, including societal benefits like reduced fuel consumption and cutting down on highway congestion by trucks. He added that the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York is committed to building on-dock rail infrastructure to remove drayage trucks from roads, which tend to be the oldest and largest pollution emitters, and would move more ocean freight onto the railways for intermodal hauls.
Hatch also said that using rail and intermodal as opposed to drayage “makes sense but it does not make sense for shorter hauls unless you have the double-stack economics and enough volume to justify it.”
Railroad market share for goods coming into the Ports of New and New Jersey is in the low-to-mid teens, with a goal to get into the mid-double digits. And that figure is expected to rise in future years, according to the Port Authority, which would be a boon for the Liberty Corridor Freightway.
Some of the reasons for probable increased market share cited by the Port Authority include: increased demand for imports and exports, more rail participation in port growth, increasing demand for rail transport, rising trucking rates, and more short-haul rail usage.
Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine
entire logistics operation. Start your FREE subscription today!