Completion of a two-year project to modernize the CSX DeWitt Rail Yard in Syracuse, New York, offers the potential for the Port of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to advance its goal of moving more freight through its $600 million ExpressRail on-dock rail system, port officials said yesterday.
The port has handled a "significant" increase in the share of rail cargo to 17 percent of overall volumes as a result of the ExpressRail network expansion, including four operational facilities. The DeWit project is designed to lower shipping costs and make the region's commodities more competitive, PANYNJ officials said in the port's Breaking Waves blog.
Operated by CSX, the DeWitt Yard will provide weekday intermodal service between Syracuse and the port's ExpressRail Millennium Marine Rail terminal in Elizabeth, New Jersey. APM and Maher Terminals LLC operate the terminal.
The enhanced rail yard will provide cargo owners with more trip options, offer an alternative to the 245-mile truck haul, and reduce truck traffic through the region's largest marine terminals, PANYNJ officials said. One 10,000-foot train is equal to removing 297 trucks off the road.
For the past six months, CSX has moved about 20 containers weekly between Elizabeth and Syracuse, said Cory Wyatt, manager of intermodal rail development for PANYNJ.
CSX estimates that 200 to 400 containers move weekly by truck between the port and Syracuse, some of which could be converted to rail.
Freight moving through terminals other than Maher and APM also will be able to use the new service through the rail facility's third-party truck gate, said port officials.
CSX expects to handle up to 30,000 containers annually from importers of consumer and retail goods and possible agriculture exporters, they said.
Prior to refurbishing, the DeWitt Yard was a wheeled operation, requiring shippers to use the rail terminal's chassis for containers entering and exiting the yard. CSX began the upgrade in 2018 with the help of a $19 million grant from the state of New York.