• Panama Canal Widening - 2014

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

Moderator: David

  by CarterB
Maybe they'll run one aground on Shooters Is. making the turn , and then we get back to transcon rail loads!!!
  by SecaucusJunction
If you want to see more container trains in NJ, I think the bigger ships in NY harbor would be a good thing.

Most of the old MLB traffic to the east coast is gone and not coming back. These new traffic patterns can only get better than what they are.
  by blockline4180
So according to SJ, we should see a lot more container trains on the Lehigh Line/Trenton lines and possibly the Tier by 2015??
  by Ken W2KB
CarterB wrote:Just wondering, the new ships just taller? or longer? If longer, how're they going to negotiate the 110 degree turn into Newark Bay from the Kill? Bring on the unit trains!!!!
Turning part of the former Navy Base / Military Ocean Terminal into a facility that would handle the largest ships is currently under study. The original plans for the property have apparently fallen through.
  by SecaucusJunction
Looks like the Bayonne Bridge is officially being lifted for the sum total of $1B.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/09/21/ ... ne-bridge/

From everything I've heard now, this looks like it's gonna flip the Asia to US shipping business right around. I could see the East Coast ports having the volume the west coast ports currently do and the West Coast ports having volume the East Coast ports currently do... And for anyone currently upset because NS tends to terminate intermodal trains in Harrisburg or Rutherford, instead of continuing them to NJ, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised in the next 5 years or so...
  by EDM5970
Interesting timing; the Bayonne Bridge project was announced just days after the Governor announced that the tunnel project is now on hold-
  by SecaucusJunction
Good Article about the widening... Not only is PANYNJ right in the heart of a huge metro area, but it is geographically closer to most large markets in the Northeast and midwest...

http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/20 ... o_han.html
  by SemperFidelis
I think we're going to run into something of a problem if we're expecting the east coast container ports to handle the volume that the west coast ports do. Most of the east coast ports need massive upgrades to handle the volumes that the west coast ports do and real estate in many of the areas is already very expensive and/or currently occupied. Speaking of the NYCT/Port Newark area: most of the areas that were once used for industrial and maritime operations are long since gone, shifted to commercial and residential use.

Former MOT Bayonne is one wonderful exception where significant room exists to expand. I don't know if the rail infrastructure is up to snuff, however. I think there are already some pretty significant capacity problems in the area.

I can't imagine to where the Philadelphia port would expand except for Camden's vast empty industrial tracts, or perhaps the former Navy base. I suppose it would depend on how much dredging could happen to open up more northern portions of the riverfront to these massive ships.

I don't recall the area around Baltimore's container port (Patapsco?) as striking as having too much room for expansion. Sparrow's Point steel mill will probably end up closing sooner or later, so that might be a nice long term opportunity.

NYCT Staten Island has some room for expansion, but nothing near the amount of space required to host an operation similar to Los Angeles or one of the other west coast operations. Can the Chemical Coast handle too much more traffic?

I don't know too much about Norfolk/Hampton Roads, but at least that area is still host to a significant amount of maritime activity.

Containers can be drayed to just about anywhere, but space for giant gantry cranes and the other infrastructure needed to handle such an influx of traffic is probably going to come at a great cost...especially since government's defecit spending habits suddenly matter.

On the positive side, perhaps we'll see some nice east coast capacity projects akin to the Alameda Corridor!
  by SecaucusJunction
Here is another article about how the railroads are preparing for exponential growth when the Panama Canal opens...

http://jacksonville.com/business/2010-1 ... ready-more
  by necrails
Lost in all of this is the fact that the Port Authority purchased most of the former MOT in Bayonne to deal with the Bayonne Bridge issue in the short term. I expect we will see greatly increased shipping and rail traffic out of this area once the infrastructure is built out. The PA is also talking about raising the decking on the bridge as the most viable solution. Perhaps the LRT can be tied into that project.
  by NellieBly
Well, the news is out -- the Port Authority is going to spend $1 billion to raise the Bayonne Bridge enough to give "post-Panamax" ships headroom.

We've just started a study of the impact the new Panama Canal locks will have, here at USDOT. I'll post photos from the trip to Panama I expect to take this winter. By the way, everybody talks of "enlargement" but it's actually just two new locks and several miles of new channel. One of the new locks will parallel the Gatun locks, the other the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks. The old locks will remain in place. They are in pairs. The new locks will be "singles" (traffic in only one direction at a time). Interestingly, the Panama Canal Authority is re-using excavation done in 1939 through 1942 for larger locks at those sites (not as big as the ones they're building now). That work was abandoned in 1942 due to the need to divert resources elsewhere, and is now (finally) being completed.

What I've heard is that the new, larger ships will probably only call at two or maybe three ports on the Gulf and East Coasts. My money would be on Houston and Hampton Roads. They both have deep channels and room to expand. New York, despite its size, has a very small "hinterland" due to transportation difficulties in the crowded Northeast. I wonder whether the Port Authority will get it's money's worth out of the Bayonne Bridge reconstruction.
  by SecaucusJunction
I gotta disagree... respectfully of course. The railroads and ports that seem to be favored are Virginia and New York. I think Charleston will eventually get a share as well. PANYNJ wouldn't be spending all this money to raise the bridge if they didnt have the knowledge of definite traffic coming... they are upsetting too many people. My guess would be that Charleston will get the lions share of Southeast traffic. Norfolk will get a lot of the mid-Atlantic traffic as well as some eastern Midwest and NYNJ will get the rest of the eastern Midwest, Northeast and eastern Canada as Halifax is too far out of the way.
  by SemperFidelis
Off topic, but I'd like to ask "NellieBly":

What is it the Panamanians are doing to handle the water shortage problems caused by the constant drawing of water from the lakes that feed the system?

Thank you!
  by NellieBly
Follow this link to a PDF presentation by the Panama Canal Authority that explains the work they're doing:

http://www.pancanal.com/eng/plan/docume ... oposal.pdf

The short answer is in two parts:

1) The new locks will reclaim a lot of water into storage basins. Despite their much greater size, they will actually use less water than the old locks.
2) As part of the channel deepening the PCA is also doing, they're raising the level of Gatun Lake, which is the reservior for the canal. This will help them get a deeper channel and will also expand water storage capability.

My money is on Hampton Roads because it's closer to major Midwest markets than NY (or Baltimore), and already has a 60 foot channel depth. New York has the Bayonne Bridge to worry about, plus a congested metro area.

As for other east coast ports, I'd go for Savannah rather than Charleston. The two states are planning an entirely new port on the Savannah River (but actually in South Carolina) that might also be a candidate.

But I don't have any solid answers. That's why we're doing the study!
  by Otto Vondrak
SecaucusJunction wrote:Since the Panama Canal is supposed to open for larger ships as well as a greater number of ships in 2014, what effect does everyone think that will have on the railroads in NJ? Good, bad, no change? I've heard all different types of scenarios from more traffic, to less traffic, to not much change at all.... so I'm just wondering what the "experts" think on the situation.
Like there's not enough stuff to talk about in New Jersey, so we have to go to Panama?

This is a "reach" topic if I ever saw one.