• ITVI.USA
    13,798.790
    84.450
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.660
    -0.270
    -1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,773.890
    87.510
    0.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    -0.040
    -1.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    -0.170
    -6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.070
    -0.210
    -6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.090
    -6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.280
    -0.210
    -8.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.900
    -0.070
    -3.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.720
    -0.270
    -9%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,798.790
    84.450
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.660
    -0.270
    -1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,773.890
    87.510
    0.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    -0.040
    -1.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    -0.170
    -6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.070
    -0.210
    -6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.090
    -6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.280
    -0.210
    -8.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.900
    -0.070
    -3.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.720
    -0.270
    -9%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperIntermodal

Infrastructure projects move forward at Port of Tampa

   Two large intermodal projects to better connect the Port of Tampa with road and rail networks are making good progress and will benefit freight shippers such as American Honda Motor Co., which recently began using the port as an import gateway.
   Construction of an on-dock rail facility to handle 100-car unit trains of ethanol from the Midwest is scheduled to be completed by the fall, according to the Tampa Port Authority. The multipurpose rail terminal can also serve the adjacent container terminal operated by Ports America.
   The port and Class I railroad CSX Transportation are building the terminal to serve Kinder Morgan, one of several petroleum companies with fuel farms at the port. Kinder Morgan operates a pipeline through Central Florida.
   Currently, ethanol from the Midwest arrives at different rail terminals in the center of the state and must be trucked to the Port of Tampa, where it is mixed with gasoline delivered by vessel from refineries along the Gulf Coast before distribution to retail locations. The inbound trains may include a dozen to two-dozen tank cars with ethanol, mixed in with boxcars, intermodal, auto and other cars.
   Once the project is complete, dedicated ethanol trains with up to 100 cars will be able to head straight to the port, taking thousands of trucks off the road and giving Tampa the first on-dock unit train capability in Florida, port authority officials say. 
   To date, the site has been prepared for the 13,244-foot loop rail line, rails have been delivered, and construction of storm treatment ponds and installation of pipes to offload the ethanol is underway.
   The completion date is one to three months behind port estimates announced four months ago.
   Ports America, which operates under a long-term concession, has been working to expand and upgrade the port’s container terminal in anticipation that carriers will be attracted to its large regional consumer market.
   The terminal operator and the port plan within several years to quadruple the terminal to 160 acres on adjacent land owned by the port authority. The facility will have capacity to handle more than 1 million TEUs at full build out.
   In fiscal year 2011, ended Sept. 30, 40,000 TEUs moved through the port, according to Marketing Director Wade Elliott. Container volume was down about 4,800 units, following the 8 percent decline between 2010 and 2009. Elliott noted that container tonnage ticked up because fewer empty containers were shipped out of the port and containers held heavier products.
   The port, so far, has been unable to attract an ocean carrier with a direct service from Asia via the Panama Canal.
   Once the port generates sufficient volumes of containers, it can take advantage of the on-dock rail line to more efficiently move the cargo boxes to inland destinations.
   Meanwhile, construction is more than 60 percent complete on the Crosstown Connector, a $568 million initiative by the Florida Department of Transportation that will provide direct access between the Port of Tampa and Interstate 4, which cuts across the state. Bridge segments for the elevated interchange, which will include dedicated truck lanes, are currently being laid in place.
   The project is partially funded by federal dollars from the 2009 stimulus program.
   The port authority said about 11,000 trucks haul cargo in and out of the port each day, with that number expected to increase to 15,000 per day within 10 years.
   Construction has also begun to replace the pier at the port’s main oil terminal, the primary entry point for gasoline for west/central Florida and jet fuel for Orlando Airport. The expanded facility will be able to handle larger tankers and have greater fuel capacity, while enhancing operational and environmental safety. Tampa’s partners on the $40 million project are Kinder Morgan, Transmontaigne, and Murphy Oil.
   Business tailed off at the Port of Tampa in fiscal year 2011, ended Sept. 30, with overall tonnage down 7 percent to 32.4 million net tons. Dry bulk and liquid bulk cargo were off 16 percent and 2 percent, respectively, from the previous year. Petroleum shipments, for example, declined 5 percent from 2010 to 15.4 million net tons.
  The Port of Tampa is being impacted by the slow recovery from the recession, which hit Florida harder than most states. Tampa’s cargo volume has fallen each of the past five years. Officials attribute most of the decline to changes in the phosphate and fertilizer industry and the decision by TECO Energy to sell its ocean transportation company and begin shipping domestic coal by rail to its Big Bend power station situated on Tampa Bay.
   Port Director Richard Wainio said in his State of the Port speech last December that growth would not be much better in 2012. A bump in steel shipments, the return of Peruvian Amazon Line after a lengthy absence to carry 26 yachts and boats to Brazil, and potential fly ash exports to Latin America represent a silver lining for this year, he added.
   Another positive development is the start of monthly shipments of Honda CRVs through the Port of Tampa. American Honda is using the port to serve the Caribbean market. An NYK Line roll-on/roll-off vessel delivered the first load of Mexican-built CRVs from Guadalajara on April 3. The automobiles were offloaded and stored on the docks for delivery by another carrier to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten and the Bahamas.
   After the Mexican-built Hondas are discharged, U.S.-built Hondas will be loaded onto the NYK vessel for delivery to Aruba and Curacao, according to a port authority news release.
   Ports America is in charge of stevedoring services for the auto operation. — Eric Kulisch