THE Port of Baltimore will receive US$15.6 million from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Consolidated Rail and Infrastructure Safety Improvements (CRISI) programme for its Rail Capacity Modernisation Project, reports the American Journal of Transportation.
The project involves clearance improvements in the 127-year-old tunnel and at 21 other locations between Baltimore and Philadelphia. With the tunnel expansion project, Baltimore will be able to send double stacked trains to Chicago.
The project will also reconstruct and update the Seagirt Marine Terminal's intermodal rail yard infrastructure and support increased demand for double stacked trains of containerised cargo to markets across the country.
"This funding will support the continued growth of Maryland's Port of Baltimore," said Governor Larry Hogan. "This project adds to the more than $200 million that I authorised for the Howard Street Tunnel expansion project which will allow for double-stack capabilities to and from the port, increased port business and thousands of jobs."
The FRA CRISI Project will build four new rail tracks totalling 17,670 track feet and two crane rail beams totaling 7,000 linear feet within the Seagirt Terminal. Seagirt's intermodal container yard allows for the easy transfer of shipping containers by truck or rail. The FRA grant includes a $6.7 million match from Ports America Chesapeake (PAC), the Maryland Port Administration's public-private partner at the Seagirt Terminal.
"This is terrific news for the Port of Baltimore," said Port of Baltimore executive director William Doyle. "Our rail service to the Midwest is already increasing as we pick up shippers diverting around congested gateways."
"This is great news for the International Longshoremen's Association," said Scott Cowan, president of ILA Local 333. "Improving our rail capabilities means more business for the Port of Baltimore and that's good news for us."
Last month, the Port of Baltimore welcomed its newest container line service, Israeli carrier Zim Shipping Lines E-Commerce Baltimore Express (ZXB), a service from China and Southeast Asia to the US east coast.
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