Georgia Ports Approve $19.7 Million For New Inland Terminal
At its July board meeting, the Georgia Ports Authority approved a spending package of $19.7 million to construct the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) in Chatsworth, Murray County, Georgia.
The funds consist of $10 million from the state of Georgia and $9.7 million from the GPA. In addition, the rail transportation carrier CSX Transportation is making off-site improvements to facilitate the new inland port. Murray County purchased the land at a cost of $700,000 and deeded the site to GPA. For the land purchase, $500,000 came from a state economic development grant and $200,000 from the Murray County Economic Development Authority.
“The Appalachian Regional Port will create a new gateway to the Port of Savannah for our customers serving Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and beyond,” said Executive Director Griff Lynch. “We estimate the ARP will offset more than 350 truck miles per container, or close to 18 million miles every year.”
The new inland terminal is the second for the GPA and part of the Network Georgia program designed to create inland terminals throughout the state to reduce intermodal truck traffic and provide greater rail capacity to the southeast U.S. and beyond.
The inland terminal in Chatsworth will be approximately 40 acres and be operated using highly efficient rubber-tired gantry cranes to move cargo to and from CSX trains. GPA expects construction to be complete in late summer, 2018.
“The GPA, the state of Georgia and our partners in the private sector are very focused on rail and road connections to and from our ports,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “Establishing these inland terminals will extend our rail advantage into a multi-state region, ease highway traffic congestion, and prepare Georgia’s ports for a new era of growth.”
At the same board meeting, Lynch reported the GPA moved 30.8 million tons of cargo and 3.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in fiscal year 2016. It is the second straight year that TEU volumes topped 3.6 million. Despite a decrease of 1.3 percent in containers for fiscal year 2016, combined annual TEU growth for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 reached 15.4 percent.
“Overall, fiscal year 2016 container volumes exceeded expectations due to inflated market share associated with last year’s west coast cargo diversions,” said Lynch. “When our new customers experienced the seamless connection between Georgia’s ports, rail and roads, they decided to grow their business here. This coming year we will be focused on increasing our capacity, expanding our reach into new markets and providing superior supply chain solutions for our customers.”
GPA estimates that 24 percent of the approximately 320,000 TEUs diverted to the Port of Savannah over fiscal year 2015, or more than 75,000 TEUs, was retained by the Authority.
“Georgia’s deepwater ports are a powerful magnet for new business,” said Allgood. “Thousands of manufacturing and logistics companies are already capitalizing on the competitive advantages offered by the ports of Savannah and Brunswick. As our retention of the diverted cargo shows, potential customers continue to choose Georgia when they learn of the savings in time and money that we provide.”
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