Port Everglades moves toward Public/Private Partnership with FEC for rail to transport cargo

The Broward County Board of County Commissioners today unanimously approved action authorizing the Port Everglades Department staff to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Florida East Coast Railway company leading to the development of an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) on Port property.

"Florida East Coast Railway is excited to partner with the state of Florida and Broward County to deliver an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at Port Everglades. This project has been identified by the local community as a need for future growth and the ICTF will ensure South Florida is a hub for international trade for future generations," said Jim R. Hertwig, President and CEO of Florida East Coast Railway, L.L.C.

The Port Everglades Master/Vision Plan, approved by the Board of County Commissioners on March 1, 2011, envisioned the development of a near-dock ICTF in the Southport area of the Port as a public/private partnership. The Port had been approached by the Florida East Coast Railway, LLC (FEC) to partner with the County in this development. Successful completion of an MOU will be the first step towards a broader agreement for construction and operation of the ICTF.

The ICTF in the Southport area of Port Everglades will facilitate the transfer of containerized cargo through the Port onto the FEC rail line via a connecting rail spur. The proposed ICTF is unique compared to similar facilities in other ports in that both domestic and international cargo would be handled on the site. These cargos are currently being handled on a 14-acre site on Andrews Avenue owned by the FEC. A combined near-dock facility at the Port should result in competitive transfer and shipping fees for port clients, thus increasing the Port's competitive advantage compared to other ports. Positive environmental benefits are also envisioned by the reduction of truck traffic on local roadways. In addition, by relocating from the smaller facility on Andrews Avenue, Route 84 highway congestion will be reduced.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will break ground for the Eller Drive overpass project in July 2011, which is a critical first step in moving the ICTF forward by allowing for an at-grade rail connection directly into Southport. This project is fully funded by the state and is estimated to cost $54 million. FDOT's Eller Drive Overpass project will consist of a four-lane bridge overpass on the primary entrance to the Port. This overpass will allow for construction of an at-grade rail spur to Southport while facilitating unrestricted movement to and from container and cruise terminals and to I-595 and the Florida Turnpike highway systems. The project also involves the widening, realignment, and construction of service roads parallel to the Overpass.

Port Everglades is one of the nation's leading container ports and a trade gateway to Latin America and Caribbean. Port Everglades has direct access to the interstate highway system, is within two miles of the Florida East Coast Railway hub and is just one mile from the Atlantic Shipping Lanes. Ongoing capital improvements and expansion ensure that Port Everglades will have the ability to handle future growth in container traffic. A world-class cargo handling facility, Port Everglades serves as an ideal point of entry for products shipped around the world.

More information about Broward County's Port Everglades is available on the Internet at http://www.porteverglades.net, by calling toll-free in the United States 1-800-421-0188 or emailing PortEvergladesCargo@broward.org. Also, a full video of the Master Plan is available on YouTube.