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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf last week announced that ocean carriers can begin applying for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (PennDOT) new Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program, which aims to increase volume at the Port of Philadelphia.Established through PennDOT's Multimodal Transportation Fund, the program commits up to $1 million annually for five years to provide ocean carriers $25 per container lift above their previously reported lift totals. The transportation fund includes dedicated budget categories for freight-rail, port, aviation and bicycle-pedestrian projects.Carriers that launch containerized cargo shipping services at the port also will qualify for the incentive program. A carrier that either discharges or loads containerized cargo at any port terminal would be eligible for the incentive if they increase their volume from one six-month period to another. "Pennsylvania has a robust transportation system and our ports are a vital part of the movement of goods," Wolf said in a press release. "These incentives will help increase activity at the port, which will drive commerce across Pennsylvania and could create more than 1,400 good-paying jobs."PennDOT expects to award the first grants under the program during the state's 2015-16 fiscal year, with awards anticipated twice each fiscal year. Interested companies must apply by June 30; if approved, a carrier's incentive will be based on its reported cargo activity from July 2014 through December 2014.By encouraging ocean carriers to bring more cargo to the Philadelphia port — which is served by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway — the program will attract about 200,000 new container moves annually over the five-year period, PennDOT officials said.
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