JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, US — CG Railway, LLC (CGR), a joint venture between Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and Seacor Holdings Inc., announced that its new rail ferry, the Cherokee, is now in operation. The Cherokee is 590 feet long and can carry up to 135 railcars capable of handling a wide range of commodities, including food-grade agricultural products.
As part of its first shipment, the Cherokee departed the Port of Mobile in Alabama on Sept. 12, hauling 122 railcars, and arrived at the Port of Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz, Mexico, on Sept. 15. The ferry began its return trip from Coatzacoalcos on Sept. 18, 2021, with 130 railcars onboard and arrived back in Mobile on Sept. 21.
According to CGR the roundtrip delivery set record results for transportation speed and railcar volumes.
The Cherokee can now handle a 17% capacity increase per sailing compared to CGR’s previous rail ferries, the company said. CGR said it can move dry agricultural goods on boxcars and hoppers and liquid agricultural products in tank railcars.
“We are extremely pleased with the Cherokee’s performance during its maiden voyage,” said Todd Biscan, vice president of sales and marketing at CGR. “The rail ferry transported more than 22,500 tons of diverse commodities, including chemicals, plastics, pulp and paper, agricultural products and food. CGR is excited to enhance service quality to customers and safely move railcars from the US to Southern Mexico in three days with customs cleared en route.”
In addition to the Cherokee, CGR said it took delivery of an identical second new rail ferry, the Mayan, on Sept. 22. The Mayan is expected to enter into service in December and replace CGR’s existing vessel, the Banda Sea. Until then, the Banda Sea will continue to operate alongside the Cherokee, CGR said.
“Offering greater capacity and more sailings per week between the Southeast US and Mexico, CGR service is better than ever,” said Hoffman Lijeron, president of CGR. “In addition, both the Cherokee and Mayan will generate lower CO2 emissions than land alternatives and our legacy ferries. These collective benefits provide a long-term, sustainable supply chain solution for existing and prospective customers.”
Established in 2000, CG Railway operates as a US Class III freight railroad that currently transports approximately 10,000 carloads of diversified commodities annually across the Gulf of Mexico, with long-term agreements to operate purpose-built rail-ferry terminals in the ports of Mobile, Alabama, US, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, in Mexico. Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and Seacor Holdings Inc. formed the rail-ferry joint venture that includes CG Railway, LLC in 2017.
Genesee & Wyoming Inc. owns or leases 116 freight railroads organized in locally managed operating regions with 7,300 employees serving 3,000 customers. G&W’s four North American regions serve 42 US states and four Canadian provinces and include 113 short line and regional freight railroads with more than 13,000 track-miles.
G&W’s UK/Europe Region includes the UK’s largest rail maritime intermodal operator and second-largest freight rail provider, as well as regional rail services in Continental Europe.
G&W subsidiaries and joint ventures also provide rail service at more than 30 major ports, rail-ferry service between the US Southeast and Mexico, transload services, and industrial railcar switching and repair.
Seacor Holdings Inc. is a diversified holding company with interests in domestic and international transportation and logistics, crisis and emergency management, and clean fuel and power solutions.