Joint venture led by SEACOR to operate rail ferry between Alabama and Veracruz
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SEACOR Holdings Inc. and Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) announced the formation of a 50/50 joint venture to own and operate CG Railway, LLC (CGR), a subsidiary of SEACOR, that runs a freight railroad providing four-day rail ferry service between the ports of Mobile, Alabama, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. Terms of the joint venture were not disclosed.
The CGR rail ferry presents a faster and more cost-effective alternative to the traditional land route between the southeast U.S. and southeast Mexico. The joint venture plans to immediately invest in the existing rail ferry vessels to enhance service reliability.
Established in 2001, the ferry service currently transports approximately 10,000 annual carloads of commodities such as chemicals & plastics, fructose & refined sugar, steel and pulp & paper.
The CGR business is comprised of a U.S. Class III freight railroad that connects in Mobile with G&W’s Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway (AGR), BNSF (via AGR), Canadian National (CN), CSX, Kansas City Southern (via CN) and Norfolk Southern and connects in Coatzacoalcos with Ferrosur, the railroad serving central and southern Mexico; two 585’ roll-on/roll-off rail ferries, each with the capacity to transport approximately 115 railcars per voyage; long-term agreements to operate purpose-built rail ferry terminals in the ports of Mobile and Coatzacoalcos; a 10,000-square-foot, food-grade, truck-to-rail transload facility and a railcar repair shop both located in Mobile.
“We are committed to improve the rail ferry’s on-time performance by leveraging SEACOR’s expertise in marine operations,” says CGR Senior Vice President Kevin Wild. “Combining reliable service with the cost efficiency of short sea shipping and the 50% shorter transit time versus land routes, we create a compelling alternative for customers moving goods between the eastern U.S. and Canada to and from central and southern Mexico.”
“CGR creates a natural extension of our rail services to reach the rapidly growing market in central and southern Mexico,” says G&W Chief Commercial Officer Michael Miller. “We look forward to working with Ferrosur and Ferromex to expand the current customer base. Since G&W’s short line railroads maintain close commercial relationships with customers and connecting Class I railroads across the southeastern U.S., we also look forward to offering a more direct option for these shippers and others east of the Mississippi to reach central and southern Mexico.”