The Gateway Rail Facility supports national and State of Florida renewable energy policies by promoting domestic ethanol production and reducing dependence on foreign energy sources. The facility will handle over 300 million gallons of inbound ethanol each year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ethanol emits approximately 19% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than gasoline. This facility will replace enough gasoline with ethanol to reduce CO2 emissions by 1.1 billion pounds during its first year of operation.
Demand for ethanol is rising with long-term Florida population growth. Proposed Federal and state regulations are expected to raise the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent also contributes to higher demand. The new facility will accommodate this demand by increasing ethanol handling capacity by fourfold at the Port of Tampa.
The terminal will initially handle at least one unit train per week with capacity for up to six per week if ethanol demand continues to increase in future years. From the Gateway Rail Facility, the pipeline distribution system at the terminal connects directly to a major regional pipeline network, eliminating inbound ethanol trucks. The flexible terminal can also export ethanol to ships, should the market need arise.
This project is the first U.S. port facility for ethanol-unit-train-to-pipeline distribution, as well as the first on-dock unit train capability at a Florida container port. In addition to ethanol, the terminal will be multi-modal in nature, enjoying the transfer of multiple cargoes from ship to rail.
The public-private partnership responsible for the project builds on previous collaboration by the Port Authority, Florida Department of Transportation, CSX and its subsidiary TRANSFLO and others during the two-year Master Plan development process. The partnership involves multiple modes – including pipeline – to enhance economic competitiveness of the region and of the national ethanol supply chain. Modal integration is critically important to the long-term success of this project, including its ability to reduce regional truck movements and provide the associated livability, environmental sustainability, and safety benefits.