The Jacksonville Port Authority received $10 million of the $25 million in federal funding it requested to build an intermodal rail terminal.
The port needs roughly $45 million to build the intermodal terminal, which would serve a container terminal operated by TraPac, an MOL subsidiary, and support Hanjin’s facility, which Jaxport hopes to open by late 2018. The grant is part of the latest round of funding through the Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.
“This new transfer facility will allow JaxPort to better compete with other ports around the world since the funding will allow it to transfer cargo off the port to its final location via rail in a quicker and more efficient manner,” said Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla.
CSX Transportation, which helped sponsor the grant application, isn’t expected to give its top rival, Norfolk Southern Railway, access to the facility. This may reduce the Asian terminals’ attractiveness to shippers, but NS said it would keep its drayage rates competitive.
Providing Asian shippers with better intermodal access is key to Jaxport’s goal of becoming the preferred Southeast gateway. Realizing it will never surpass its main competitor, Savannah, in container handling, Jaxport is selling itself as an alternative to shippers looking for cheaper and faster service than the Southeast port juggernaut can provide.