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NEW YORK: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved construction of a ship-to-rail facility at Global Container Terminals' (GCT) Bayonne facility. The project completes the agency's $600 million initiative to provide its marine terminals with direct rail access.

Open in 2018, the new facility will have an initial capacity of 125,000 container ship-to-rail lifts a year.

GCT Bayonne (right) is the closest container terminal to the New York/New Jersey harbor entrance, reducing transit time by two hours each way and is the only one able to service post-Panamax vessels.

bayonne-terminalThe port agency said the project is contingent on funding provided by its cargo facility charge, a per-container fee shipped through New York and New Jersey to cover the costs of road, rail and security infrastructure projects.

"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," said Port Authority vice chairman Scott Rechler. "This critical investment will help take tens of thousands of truck trips off our roads and reduce congestion and harmful emissions throughout our region."

The agency said ocean cargo volumes are up 12 percent year-on-year for the first eight months of 2015.

Meanwhile it has authorized US$125 million to upgrade a runway that handles nearly 50 percent of all landings at JFK, including the addition of a new high-speed taxiway to help reduce airport delays. The work will close the runway for 90 days in 2017.

"With over 53 million passengers in 2014, JFK is the busiest international airport in the country," added Rechler. "These investments will help reduce ground delays at the airport, as well provide for critical safety and state of good repair projects that are essential to maintaining JFK's role as the gateway to the United States and the region."

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