The Port Authority Board of Commissioners, New York, approved a major re-development of the Greenville Yard that will include a new ExpressRail facility—the fourth of its type to be built by the agency—to support the adjacent Global Marine Terminal. This will allow the terminal to ship and receive containerized cargo by rail, a capability that it lacks today.

The total program cost is approximately $356 million, of which the Port Authority will contribute approximately $320 million and approximately $36 million by third-party stakeholders.

Currently, cargo coming on and off the Global Terminal is transported to and from its final destination primarily by truck. The new facility will allow for transloading of containerized cargo from ship to rail, offering ocean carriers and their customers a more efficient and environmentally friendly option for goods movement. The facility will have an initial capacity of at least 125,000 cargo container lifts a year, and is expected to be operational in July 2016.

The board also approved a series of improvements to the cross-harbor car float system operated by NY-NJ Rail that moves freight more efficiently by both water and rail as opposed to truck between New Jersey and markets east of the Hudson River, including New York City and Long Island.

The NY-NJ Rail operation, which is owned by the Port Authority and operates the last cross-harbor car float system on the Hudson River, will allow freight to be loaded on rail cars, as the cars are moved by marine rail barge (carfloat) from Greenville to rail yards at 51st Street and 65th Street in Brooklyn, N.Y. Today, cargo delivered to Brooklyn is either delivered to local customers or handed over to another railroad to reach its final destination.

When completed, the program will provide significant environmental benefits, including reductions to vehicle travel time, fuel consumption and a reduction in air emissions. As a result of the projects, 1.6 million metric tons of carbon monoxide emissions will be avoided over a 30-year period, 142 million gallons of diesel fuel will be saved and 17.1 million truck trips on local roads will be avoided.

Certain off-site improvements to the freight rail network in northern New Jersey also will be made to ensure it is equipped to handle the additional rail activity that will be generated by the redeveloped Greenville Yard. Global Terminal will contribute approximately $15 million for the procurement and installation of rail-mounted gantry cranes at the ExpressRail facility.

"Striking a balance in freight transportation is critical if we are to continue the efficient, environmentally sustainable movement of people and goods throughout the region," says John Degnan, chairman of the Port Authority. "This investment will yield major benefits by providing new rail and barge options to meet the growing freight traffic in this busy metropolitan area."

"The investment that we're making in the Greenville Yards project demonstrates the Port Authority's commitment to a cleaner, more efficient movement of freight while improving the competitiveness of our port business," says Scott Rechler, vice chairman of the Port Authority. "This project will reduce the number of trucks on our highways and curb harmful emissions while maximizing the use of our waterways and freight rail system to reduce traffic congestion and to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the region."

The new ExpressRail Port Jersey includes the construction of approximately 10,000 feet of working track, 32,000 feet of support track and switches and infrastructure to support rail-mounted gantry cranes at the facility.

The upgrades to the New York-New Jersey carfloat system include construction of up to two new transfer bridges at Greenville and related lead and support tracks; the purchase of two larger carfloats, each with the capability of transporting 18 rail cars; and the purchase of up to four new, ultra-low emission locomotives to replace existing ones that have outlived their useful lives.