ELIZABETH — The Port of New York and New Jersey’s ExpressRail Elizabeth facility marked a major milestone last week by transporting its three millionth cargo container by rail, which has removed an estimated five million truck trips from the road in the 18 years since the on-dock rail system was launched.
ExpressRail Elizabeth began service in 1991 as a way to move cargo containers from the ship to the marketplace by rail rather than by truck. Currently, about 12 percent of cargo containers are transported by rail. The Port Authority has invested $600 million to expand and upgrade the port’s rail system, which will provide the capacity to move 1.5 million containers a year when completed in 2012.
Two expansion projects will be completed in 2009 – the addition of a second lead track into the ExpressRail Elizabeth facility allowing for simultaneous arrival and departure of two trains, and the completion of additional support track west of Corbin Street in the port to allow marshalling of trains to a single destination, providing for a quicker and more efficient movement of the containers.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “Almost 20 years ago this agency had the vision to begin investing in an on-dock rail system. That investment is paying dividends today – enabling shippers to move their cargo to market efficiently, supporting port-related jobs and economic activity, and reducing the number of trucks on our local roads.”
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, “Providing an efficient, cost-effective rail system to move goods from the port to the store shelves is a great benefit to shippers, and it’s equally beneficial to the environment. Since the port’s rail system was launched 18 years ago, ExpressRail has removed about 5 million trucks from the roads, which means less pollution, better air quality, and fewer traffic delays.”
During 2008, the Port of New York and New Jersey set a new record for the ExpressRail system – which includes ExpressRail Elizabeth and ExpressRail Staten Island – transporting 377,827 containers for the year, a nearly 6 percent increase over 2007.
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