The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s (PANYNJ’s) board in the US has approved an agreement that will allow construction to proceed on a ship-to-rail facility adjacent to the GCT Bayonne terminal.
The project will complete PANYNJ’s $600m ExpressRail initiative to provide all of its major marine terminals with direct access to rail.
The approval completes the final design and build of the new ExpressRail Port Jersey facility in Greenville Yard.
GCT Bayonne will be responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the ship-to-rail facility to allow for more efficient, environmentally friendly movement of cargo. PANYNJ will reimburse GCT up to $56m to cover the costs of construction.
The new project is contingent on continued funding provided by a per-container fee called Cargo Facility Charge, which is assessed on cargo shipped through the Port of NY and NJ to cover the costs of critical road, rail and security infrastructure projects.
Port Authority chairman John Degnan said: "Given the highly competitive nature of the port business, it’s critical that we invest in projects that will allow for the efficient, more environmentally sustainable movement of freight and goods throughout the region.
"The project will allow us to maintain our competitive edge and cement our position as the East Coast’s premier destination for international cargo."
Scheduled to be opened in 2018, the new ExpressRail facility is expected to reduce truck traffic and result in significant environmental benefits for the region.
Once operational, GCT will be responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the new facility.
Combined with other environmental programmes instituted in the port, the ExpressRail facilities have resulted in an average 33% reduction across all port related pollutant emissions, despite a 7% increase in port cargo over the same period between 2006 and 2013.
Port Authority vice-chairman Scott Rechler said: "As the most populated region in the country, it’s essential that we provide the necessary infrastructure to move freight in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way.
"This critical investment will help take tens of thousands of truck trips off our roads and reduce congestion and harmful emissions throughout our region, while delivering goods to the millions of people throughout the states of New York and New Jersey and beyond."
The cargo coming on and off ships at GCT Bayonne is currently transported by truck to and from its final destination or to another ExpressRail facility, while the new facility will allow for the transloading of containerised cargo from ship to rail.
The new ExpressRail Port Jersey facility is expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 415t and particulate matter emissions by 108t, which is the equivalent to taking more than 45,300 cars off the road.