American Shipper

Port Canaveral schedules public meetings on rail plan

Canaveral officials hope to connect cargo dock with the FEC Railway.

   Port Canaveral will hold two public meetings next month to gather feedback on its proposal to bring direct rail service to the north cargo area.
   The Canaveral Port Authority is seeking federal permission to build an 11-mile rail extension from the port that would enable access to a Florida East Coast Railway yard in nearby Titusville.
   Input is being sought from residents, government agencies,
environmental groups and the maritime industry through verbal or written
comments. The public meetings are scheduled for Nov. 18 and 19 in
Titusville and Cape Canaveral.
   The project would be enabled by connecting to a dark rail line owned and operated by NASA on Kennedy Space Center property. The 17-mile line runs to the FEC Railway facility, but is rarely used. Under the plan, NASA would grant an easement to the port authority to take operational control of the rail line all the way to the port. The NASA rail line is extremely expensive to maintain because it is used so infrequently.
   Direct rail access would benefit shippers, especially owners of bulk or non-containerized commodities, by eliminating the need to pay several hundred dollars for a truck shuttle to the FEC facility or elsewhere along the coast.
   The Kennedy Space Center route is the preferred option because there are no residential conflicts, Jim Dubea, the port’s deputy executive director, said. It also is a turnkey infrastructure that requires very little additional investment, he said.
   The STB has taken the lead for obtaining an environmental impact statement.
   (Read more about Canaveral’s on-dock rail and efforts to increase cargo’s role at the port in the September feature story “Canaveral ready for blast off.“)