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APM Terminals Elizabeth courts customers needing intermodal rail service to Midwest

New Jersey terminal seeking to grow intermodal cargo volumes

APM Terminals Elizabeth in New Jersey wants shippers to consider using its terminal for their intermodal needs, citing “abundant space” at the Millennium Marine Rail facility, a 12-hour dwell time for import rail cargo and four outbound train departures daily to the Midwest. 

The terminal on Friday said it is seeking to expand intermodal cargo volumes to and from the Midwest and Canada. CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) and Canadian railway CN (NYSE: CNI) all serve the terminal complex.

“Our rail service has been very stable and consistent — thanks to our longshore labor partners doing a fantastic job with productivity and availability,” Jon Poelma, managing director of APM Terminals Elizabeth, said in a release. “Rail carriers are benefiting from the strong import and export market as they see their intermodal cargo volumes continue to grow. Locomotive and railcar availability throughout the pandemic has been steady and reliable.” 

APM Terminals Elizabeth says it has a direct-to-rail landing zone section at the terminal, which enables the terminal to expedite rail cargo to its near-dock Millennium Marine Rail facility, an APM Terminals joint venture, in a span of about 12 hours on average after discharge. The facility has 18 tracks where it can build doublestacked trains that eventually go to inland markets two to four days away. Shippers can also use the terminal to get exports loaded onto vessels.

APM Terminals Elizabeth is touting its availability following a $200 million infrastructure investment that was recently completed. The investment includes new ship-to-shore cranes and additional truck gates, as well as a modernization of IT systems. The terminal has also deployed an appointment visibility app and a driver induction app so that truckers are aware of driver safety policies. It is also using artificial intelligence to trigger a notification to the terminal safety team to respond to the trucker location when a trucker steps out of the truck, the terminal said.

Outbound intermodal rail container volumes from Elizabeth, New Jersey, over the past year. The chart compares on a relative basis outbound domestic container volumes (in red: ORAILDOML.EWR) and outbound international container volumes (in blue: ORAILINTL.EWR). (FreightWaves SONAR) To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

“Being the first port of call for the majority of U.S. East Coast-bound ocean carriers is a huge benefit and value for customers and partners of the Port of New York and New Jersey because we have the ability to move a container off a vessel to major inland markets before the vessel even leaves our port,” said Sam Ruda, director of the Port of New York and New Jersey. 

“The coordination between our marine terminal operators, Class I railroad partners and Conrail has kept our ExpressRail system fluid and efficient during the record-breaking cargo surge facing ports nationwide, giving us the ability to flex cargo capacity whenever the need arises. Our close collaboration with port stakeholders such as APM Terminals and the waterfront workforce has been key to the success of the port during a historic moment at the port made only more challenging by the overlay of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Ruda said.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.