There is a story that covers this from a different angle in the 10 29 2009 issue of the Eastern Shore Post
(9.85 MB PDF file) page 1 and 13.
Sidelined Carfloat Threatens Chunk of Shore Economy
By Linda Cicoira
About 40 workers or 20 percent of the staff at Bayshore Concrete Products Corporation in Cape Charles could lose their jobs if Bay Coast Railroad (BCRR) doesn’t come up with the money to fix its carfloat operation.
"We’ve always done everything possible to keep the railroad going," said Johnny Williams, vice president of Bayshore. "Now we need them to help us."
"We have to truck all of our cement in," said Williams. "We pay a premium." In addition to the fuel surcharge and toll costs, "each rail car equals four trucks." At 200 cars a year, that equals 800 trucks, he
added. "It’s a much higher cost per ton of cement by truck."
When "you have to charge more for your product, " other companies "have a competitive advantage," Williams said. He explained that the company has tried bypassing the use of the barge. "They get hung up in Washington — the Potomac yard. They go to Pocomoke to pick up. It’s the timeframe. It’s so long we have to fill in with our trucks."
The most serious problem is transporting spent nuclear fuel storage containers out, Williams said. Without barge service, "the customer is talking about taking their business elsewhere. They could pull the contract. You’ve got to always be competitive in this business."
Bay Coast Railroad discontinued its carfloat operation to the Eastern Shore in June. Since then, businesses and officials have wondered why the situation hasn’t been remedied.
"Why hasn’t the railroad operator stepped forward?" said Richard Tankard, chairman of the Accomack-Northampton Transportation District Commission (ANTDC). "The discussion needs to go that way." Larry LeMond, manager of Bay Coast Railroad, said Tuesday it’s all about money.
While the state put up $700,000 toward the $1 million in repairs, "we’re looking for other funding to cover" the $300,000 match.
. . . .
"The marine link between Little Creek and Cape Charles is important to local manufacturing like Bayshore Concrete who must ship oversized components that do not fit safely on the roadways," wrote Tankard. "The carfloat enables companies … to be competitive in the global marketplace."
A couple of months ago I saw a 30 plus car train of flats loaded with over sized precast concrete units heading north through Salisbury.
As to the issue with cement loads being floated from the west, Wouldn't still be cheaper to ship them around the long way through Newark Delaware?
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.