Dramatic reductions in emissions and operating costs are anticipated with Port Manatee’s deployment of two “green” locomotives on the short-line railroad that links the Tampa Bay seaport to the CSX Transportation mainline.
The two diesel-electric locomotives, delivered respectively in January and March, were formally welcomed to the port following today’s meeting of the Manatee County Port Authority.
Benefits of the new rail units are expected to include reducing emissions of nitrous oxide and particulate matter by as much as 90 percent, as well as cutting fuel costs by about 60 percent, according to Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director.
A $2.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation covered most of the cost for the locomotives, with the Florida Department of Transportation and Port Manatee contributing about $264,000 apiece.
“With the support of federal and state partners, Port Manatee is now able to reduce both costs and environmental footprint while enhancing intermodal connectivity,” Buqueras said. “These new ‘green’ locomotives represent a ‘win-win-win’ for the environment, the port and the port’s present and future stakeholders.”
The port’s short line, Port Manatee Railroad, connects directly to the CSX mainline less than a mile from the port’s north gate. The short line includes 7 miles of track and 19 switches and has a capacity to handle more than 300 railcars.
Made by Mt. Vernon, Ill.-based National Railway Equipment Co., the N-Vironmotive 2GS-14B locomotives replace a single switcher engine built in 1958. Each of the new locomotives is powered by a pair of 700-horsepower motors that are computer-controlled so as to maximize efficiency.
Port Manatee, the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanding Panama Canal, is located near the entrance to Tampa Bay and serves bulk, breakbulk, container, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs regionally, without the benefit of ad-valorem taxes.