Second Inland Port Shows South Carolina’s Logistics Prowess
The South Carolina Ports Authority broke ground on the site of Inland Port Dillon earlier this month, a facility slated to open in early 2018 to support growing intermodal cargo volumes between the Port of Charleston and markets throughout the Carolinas, Northeast, and Midwest.
The event represented South Carolina’s leadership in logistics investments and freight movement. And it probably shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise: with the enormous success of its first facility, Inland Port Greer, which opened in 2013, the SCPA announced it would be exploring the development of a second inland port a year ago.
Inland ports have become increasingly important in managing the movement of containers to and from ocean ports. The idea is to transport container cargo by rail to an inland location, away from the port, for further processing and distribution. When it comes to exports, inland ports are used as staging areas for cargo containers making their way to ports. Besides mitigating port congestion, inland ports, because they promote the use of intermodal rail connections, represent a more environmentally friendly alternative to trucking containers to and from terminals. They also provide relief to beleaguered highway networks.
At the Port of Charleston, international intermodal rail lifts have increased 170 percent since 2011, with 23 percent of the Port of Charleston’s containerized import and export volume moving by rail. Inland Port Greer handled a record 103,639 rail lifts last year and its performance so far this year has been strong.
Inland Port Dillon, 160 miles inland from Charleston, was chosen for is location within the Carolinas I-95 Mega Site and its close proximity to I-95, a critical transportation artery in the Southeast. The area is central to a significant base of existing port users that represent base cargo opportunities for the facility. The initial phase is expected to handle at least 45,000 containers annually, offering overnight access to and from Charleston via an existing CSX mainline.
“Inland Port Dillon will diversify SCPA’s footprint and enable port users to gain logistics efficiencies through rail transportation of their cargo,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “Our facilities in Dillon and Greer are important to SCPA’s overall volume growth and the significant amount of cargo that moves today by rail.”
SCPA first announced consideration of an inland port in Dillon in April of 2016. To date, SCPA has completed the initial design phase, permitting and equipment requisition process for the facility and will soon award contracts to begin construction of the terminal.
Inland Port Dillon is expected to occupy 160 acres including 10,000 feet of track. Partners in the project include state and local governmental agencies and economic development organizations, Duke Energy, the Marlboro Electrical Cooperative, and CSX Transportation.
Inland Port Dillon will offer overnight intermodal rail service to/from the Port of Charleston. Its benefits will also include increased efficiency for importers and exporters, reduced truck traffic on I-26 and I-95 with associated environmental benefits, and a powerful magnet for future economic development in the area. Inland Port Greer has attracted the development of logistics centers from companies as diverse as BMW and Dollar Tree.
For more information on Inland Port Dillon contact:
Erin P. Dhand
Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
South Carolina Ports Authority