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  April 27th, 2016 | Written by

SC Ports Authority Celebrates Success of Inland Port Greer

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  • Inland Port Greer is one of SCPA's most successful investments.
  • SCPA CEO Jim Newsome. "An additional inland port will be a great diversification of our logistics footprint.”
  • SCPA is working with CSX to determine the viability of Dillon, South Carolina as the next inland port.

The South Carolina Ports Authority recently held a celebration of the success of Inland Port Greer, a critical component of the intermodal container logistics landscape in South Carolina and the Southeast region.

South Carolina Ports Authority announced plans to pursue a second inland port facility, driven by tremendous success of the first inland port, which opened in November 2013.

“Inland Port Greer is one of SCPA’s most successful investments, as the growth of intermodal container volume movement in our state and region requires appropriate facilities in the interior to ground loaded and empty containers and to leverage the efficiency and sustainability of rail transportation,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “An additional inland port will be a great diversification of our logistics footprint.”

Approximately 23 percent of containers imported or exported through Charleston last year moved by rail, with nearly 260,000 international intermodal rail lifts handled in 2015. Intermodal volume has seen growth of 166 percent since 2011, driving increased demand for additional inland port facilities.

“We are working with CSX to determine the viability of Dillon, South Carolina as the location for our next inland port and hope to finalize our plans by the end of the year,” Newsome said. Newsome characterized the discussions as “preliminary.”

The Dillon site under SCPA consideration offers access to an existing CSX mainline, which opens a different intermodal marketplace from Inland Port Greer and provides access to Southeastern markets as well as the Midwest. Proximity to I-95 is an additional benefit of the location as well as current port users in the area, which represent significant base cargo opportunities for the facility.

“A second inland port in South Carolina would expand transportation options in the state, lowering shipping costs for South Carolina businesses and improving competitiveness,” said Dean Piacente, vice president for intermodal at CSX. “This project would also generate substantial public benefits by creating jobs, spurring economic development and reducing traffic congestion on I-26 and I-95.”

The facility design and footprint, costs, and construction timeline are being studied by Hamburg Port Consultants (HPC). SCPA is pursuing federal infrastructure funding assistance through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to supplement the capital investment required for the project.

Inland Port Greer involves the convergence of four modes of transportation at one site: the port, rail, truck, and the nearby GSP International Airport all handling international commerce for the region’s shippers. It operates 24/7 and its located within 500 miles of 100 million consumers in the eastern U.S.

The inland port enjoyed a record volume of almost 9,000 rail container lifts in March 2016.

Dollar Tree recently announced its intention to build a major distribution center in Cowpens, South Carolina, that will be served by Inland Port Greer.

Newsome attributed the inland port’s success to several elements: an existing intermodal containerized rail service, an anchor client providing a significant cargo base at startup, and a willing local community of elected officials, business partners, and neighbors.