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PORT EVERGLADES, FL: Florida East Coast Railway's (FEC) has opened an intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF) next to the Crowley Maritime terminal in Port Everglades, Florida.

The $73 million operation increases FEC's available intermodal capacity from 100,000 to 450,000 lifts a year, which is expected to result in more domestic containers moving north as loads instead of empties, increasing the efficiency of the intermodal network and divert an estimated 180,000 trucks from Florida's interstate highway by 2029.

Florida East Coast RailwayThe announcement coincides with a report by logistics consulting company Logistics Capital & Strategy that says the combination of rising fuel prices, yield volatility and imbalanced freight flows will encourage more intermodal rail traffic between Florida and other U.S. east coast and central states.

Unlike other U.S. rail networks, FEC specializes in intermodal connectivity to Miami, Everglades and Palm Beach – as well as strategic rail-to-truck transload locations – to link every major U.S. market, including Atlanta and Savannah.

"As one of the FEC's largest intermodal customers, the location of the new ICTF is a win-win, not only for Crowley, but also for our shipping and logistics customers who are now benefitting from faster and more efficient cargo handling," said Bob Weist, Crowley vice president. "The decision to open the facility in such close proximity to ours is illustrative of the importance of our partnership."

Florida has recently surpassed New York to become the country's third largest state by population. In addition, it is the second largest net consumer in the U.S. due to an increasing population (over 19 million) and tourism (85 million out-of-state visitors annually).

Logistics Capital & Strategy says Florida's dense population has prompted severe congestion on Interstate 95 linking Jacksonville with Miami - making "trucking into South Florida difficult at best".

Crowley and FEC say they continue to grow container traffic volume density in South Florida: "We have begun educating our customers on the strategic benefits of having the ICTF literally in our backyard in Port Everglades," said Weist. "Our break bulk and out-of-gauge customers are particularly enthusiastic about being able to have their cargo off the ship and on the rail in a fraction of the time. That's good for everyone."

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