A new environmentally-friendly locomotive will soon service the Jacksonville Port Authority’s (JAXPORT’s) Talleyrand Marine Terminal. The unit is one of eight locomotives nationwide being converted from diesel to battery-powered through funding provided by Kansas-based Watco Rail Services and a U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) grant.
The U.S. DOT’s FRA awarded Watco, through its sponsor, the Kansas Department of Transportation, $15.7 million to convert the locomotives. The units will be deployed nationwide to Watco’s short-line railroads with switching capabilities, including one that will be used at the JAXPORT Terminal Railroad (JXPT) in Jacksonville.
“This is a big deal for us and a big deal for the community,” said Watco Assistant Vice President Curtis Sloan. “Over 20 years, this will save nearly 800,000 gallons of diesel fuel and prevent over 70,000 tons of emissions.”
The new locomotive servicing Jacksonville will arrive in about two years and replaces an older diesel-powered unit. The upgrades will improve system and service performance while building resilience through reductions in emissions and maintenance expenses.
“The transportation and logistics industries are continuously making improvements toward cleaner and greener methods to move cargo,” said JAXPORT Chief Commercial Officer Robert Peek. “As part of our strategic plan, we have incorporated eco-friendly infrastructure at our terminals and support our port partner’s sustainability goals that are enhancing the global supply chain.”
From designing cargo terminals and adopting innovative technology, to purchasing new equipment and reviewing operations, JAXPORT is committed to environmental protection and stewardship. The port recently launched JAXPORT EXPRESS, a $47 million public-private partnership to enhance sustainability at its Blount Island and Talleyrand terminals.