Using a grant of $11.4 million from the Obama administration stimulus package, announced late last month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is beginning construction of the South Hudson Intermodal Facility, which will permit annual transfer of 250,000 seaborne containers directly to rail cars, rather than trucking them to a rail yard in Elizabeth. The federal grant will fund rail track construction, plus installation of two huge cranes to be leased to terminal operator Global Container Terminals by the Port Authority. The Port Authority itself is contributing $100 million to construction and expansion of the Bayonne seaport intermodal capacity, to enabling handling of the next generation Panamax container ships which will begin arriving in much greater numbers once widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014.
Bayonne will remain the only east coast seaport able to handle Panamax traffic until a $1 billion project to elevate the Bayonne bridge is completed no sooner than 2016. The South Hudson Intermodal Facility’s ship to rail direct connection will simplify and speed cargo shipment by rail to final inland destinations. In announcing the federal stimulus grant, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said, “This is going to help us continue to be the mega-port of the East Coast.”