Page 19: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Jan/Feb 2019)

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The CSX intermodal terminal with Florida’s

Gateway park in the background.

nects to CSX in Sebring, Florida. She says that the rail line belongs to U.S. Sugar Company while Americas Gateway is developed in a large part by a rival regional landowner, the

Duda Brothers. But she says that as soon as Americas Gate- way secures a tenant, she can convince the sugar company to let her company use the rail line to connect with CSX. Will it work? “The odds of US Sugar building a rail line for a major competitor is anybody’s guess, she said.

But Whirls added, “We have had many conversations with

CSX and they continue to be interested in the project. But the actual railroad that serves the site and continues around Lake

Okeechobee is a short line railroad called the South Central

Florida Express, which is wholly owned subsidiary of U. S.

Sugar Corporation.

“We haven’t been pushing the inland port in the last couple of years,” Whirls said. “But the Cushmen and Wakefeld bro- ker (for the property) out of Orlando has been marketing it more just as an industrial park.”


A few miles to the north is the Central Florida Intermodal Lo- gistics Center in Winter Haven, Florida that is marketed “as a state-of-the-art centralized transportation and distribution hub for Tampa, Orlando, and South Florida.” The 318-acre CSX- affliate Evansville Western Railway terminal near by is able to process up to 300,000 shipping containers per year. Connected to the facility is 930 acres that will house warehouse distribu- tion centers, light industrial facilities, and offces.

One warehouse has been constructed for years. It contains ises “1.2 million square feet of shovel ready available property.” 407,400 square feet of empty space. The CSX intermodal yard

The Duda family donated 15 acres to Glades County to cre- is booming, just down the road. But there is not one tenant, ate the easements for the infrastructure; the Florida Department despite this assertion from the marketer. “It is a State-of-the- of Transportation funded more than $700,000 in improvements to U.S. 27; and Glades County secured nearly $1.5 million in art inland port providing full intermodal capabilities for both domestic and international import and export of goods to state infrastructure grants to tie surrounding parcels together. “This has been a pioneering public-private partnership Florida, the United States, Central and South America that is between local, state and private property owners ending a located in the heart of Florida' s I-4, Highway 27 and SR 60 stalemate in economic development in Florida,” said Whirls. corridor between Orlando and Tampa.” “Private property owners and developers are reluctant to in- To improve the marketing effort, the inland park was recent- vest millions of dollars in infrastructure on a greenfeld site ly renamed Florida's Gateway. And according to the market- in advance of proven market demand, and companies won’t ers, “it has unmatched access to CSX Winter Haven Intermo- dal and connectivity to 18 million people within a half day’s consider greenfeld sites unless they are shovel ready.” drive. Its high-tech, clean, environmentally-friendly design

But Americas Gateway has two problems. It has no build- ings except the recently built Loves Truck stop. And it has makes Florida’s Gateway one of the nation’s Top 10 Inland no connection to a Tier 1 railroad. It does have the short line Ports and one of the most technologically advanced facilities railroad, the South Central Express that runs near by and con- of its kind in the country. 19


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