Florida port reports high ethanol movements by rail

By Holly Jessen | November 20, 2013

The Tampa Gateway Rail facility, Florida’s only dockside unit train for ethanol and other cargos, has transported more than 3.89 million barrels of ethanol in 5,705 railcars in its first year of operation, reported the Tampa Port Authority. The first ethanol train pulled into the facility in November 2012.

“The Tampa Gateway Rail terminal, a landmark collaborative project, has been worth every cent of investment, meeting the needs of Central Florida’s biofuels demand,” said Paul Anderson, port authority president and CEO. “We have much to be proud of, along with our partners CSX (Corp.), TRANSFLO and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP. Greatly supported by funding from the state of Florida through the Department of Transportation, the facility enables the port to transport products efficiently and makes us extremely competitive.”

The port authority built the new rail track and needed infrastructure for the 96-car unit train deliveries, plus a multi-product unit train offloading yard in the Port of Tampa. New pipelines for transporting ethanol from the rail offloading facilities to the Tampa terminal, was a project of Kinder Morgan. From the terminal, the company distributes the ethanol to other terminals in Tampa and Orlando for blending.

The terminal is multipurpose and can also accept intermodal containers and other general cargo traffic, the port authority said in a press release. The rail facility is located next to the port’s container terminal, providing direct access to the CSX rail network. In all, the project cost $10.9 million to build.