First phase of rail extension at Port Greer completed | So Good News


Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief

Image description

Photo/SCPA/English Purcell

The South Carolina Ports Authority announced that the first phase of an Inland Port Greer rail expansion is complete.

In a press release, the authority said “SC Ports’ teammates, elected leaders and community partners gathered today to celebrate the completed rail expansion at Inland Port Greer. They also hinted at the next phase of expansion that will double cargo capacity at the rail-served inland port.”

“Nine years into operations, we are excited to expand cargo capacity and rail capacity at Inland Port Greer to better serve our customers’ supply chains,” said SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin. “We are proud to play a role in supporting the success of Upstate companies. The growth of Inland Port Greer has really been on a fast track.”

Launch of the state’s first inland port

Inland Port Greer opened in 2013 with BMW Manufacturing Co. as a launch customer. The inland terminal quickly exceeded the original design capacity estimates.

In fiscal year 2022, Inland Port Greer handled more than 150,000 rail lifts — meaning 150,000 containers were moved on or off Norfolk Southern trains.

Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland with Norfolk Southern’s daily overnight train service, allowing imports and exports to flow quickly between Charleston and the Upstate.

This has proven crucial for just-in-time manufacturing operations and retailers’ supply chains. The busy logistics hub now moves cargo for a number of companies including BMW, Michelin, Adidas, Eastman, First Solar, TTI Floorcare and Visual Comfort & Co.

Inland Port Greer operates 24/7 and operates similarly to a container terminal, with operators moving containers on and off trains instead of ships.

“Before this facility opened, a truck driver could travel to Charleston and back in one day. Now the same truck driver can come here five to 10 times a day to load and unload containers, said Inland Port Greer Terminal Manager Will Angelich. “Inland Port Greer brings efficiency and reliability to corporate supply chains. I am very proud of our team of over 60 people for their dedication to keeping the supply chain flowing.”

SC Port’s two rail-served inland ports also generate environmental benefits for South Carolina. The SC Energy Office estimated that the use of both Inland Ports Greer and Dillon in 2021 minimized carbon emissions by approximately 11,500 tons and saved an estimated 970,000 gallons of diesel, compared to using only trucks to move a similar amount of cargo.

Expand Inland Port Greer

The consistent growth of port customers spurred the expansion of Inland Port Greer, while global supply chain challenges reinforced the need for more capacity.

The first phase of the expansion involved building an additional rail handling track and two rail storage tracks in the terminal. The addition of 8,000 feet of new rail will meet freight needs through 2040.

The next expansion phase involves expanding the container yard by 15 acres to the east and west to handle 50% more cargo.

The expansion also involves doubling the size of the existing chassis yard capacity and building new facilities for maintenance of heavy lifts and terminal operations. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in the winter of 2024.

The more than $30 million expansion is funded by both SC Ports’ revenue and a portion of a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant. The grant was awarded to the SC Department of Transportation for its Upstate Express Corridor program.

“The expansion of Inland Port Greer provides more space for containers and trains to meet the capacity needs of our customers,” said Ed Stehmeyer, SC Port’s general manager of projects and design. “The goal of the terminal expansion is to strengthen the supply chain for intermodal infrastructure in the Upstate and further develop the inland terminal to handle more cargo for our customers.”

Building key port infrastructure

With support from the SC Legislature, SC Ports is also building the Navy Base Intermodal Facility in North Charleston. This rail-served cargo yard will move more cargo to and from the inland ports of Greer and Dillon, efficiently transporting goods across the state.

The Navy Base Intermodal Facility will be served by Norfolk Southern, CSX and Palmetto Railways when it opens in July 2025. The state-of-the-art loading facility will be located one mile from the Leatherman Terminal to ensure speed to market for port-dependent businesses throughout the Southeast.

“We continue to invest in critical port infrastructure around the state to provide more connectivity, capacity and flow for our customers,” Melvin said. “Our infrastructure investments help Upstate companies succeed, which supports new jobs and opportunities in the region.”

Read more about freight infrastructure.


Source link