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  December 23rd, 2023 | Written by

South Carolina Ports Accelerates Rail Expansion for Seamless Supply Chain Connectivity

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South Carolina Ports is making strategic investments in its rail capabilities to foster growth in the Southeast, with construction underway at the Navy Base Intermodal Facility. Scheduled to open in July 2025, this near-dock, rail-served cargo yard aims to expedite goods to market, bolster port capacity, and elevate overall service quality.

The intermodal yard will be served by both Norfolk Southern and CSX, establishing a direct link between SC Ports’ Charleston port terminals and rail-connected inland ports in Greer and Dillon. This connectivity extends to markets in the Southeast and Midwest, enhancing the fluidity and reliability of the supply chain.

Key features of the facility include 78,000 linear feet of railroad track, six rail-mounted gantry cranes facilitating container movements between CSX and Norfolk Southern trains, and a one-mile dedicated drayage road for efficient cargo transport to and from Leatherman Terminal. Additionally, a future barge will facilitate container transportation between the Leatherman and Wando Welch terminals.

Supported by $550 million in state funding, these critical infrastructure projects aim to accommodate a 1 million lift capacity and handle trains exceeding 14,000 feet. The rail-served cargo yard is poised to play a pivotal role in streamlining the movement of goods along the U.S. East Coast.

SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin expressed gratitude for the state’s support, emphasizing that these investments will empower port-dependent businesses, create jobs across the state, and enhance the overall success of the supply chain.

In addition to the Navy Base Intermodal Facility, SC Ports is extending its commitment to rail expansion by investing in the expansion of Inland Port Greer. This expansion will enable the inland port to handle longer trains and accommodate a 50% increase in cargo capacity. Inland Ports Greer and Dillon demonstrated robust performance, handling a combined 19,232 containers in November, reflecting a significant 48% year-over-year increase.

While container volumes experienced a slight decline in November, SC Ports demonstrated strength in the vehicle sector, with 21,821 vehicles crossing its docks. Vehicles are up 16% fiscal-year-to-date, showcasing the port’s agility and flexibility in serving the Southeast market.

As South Carolina Ports continues to fortify its rail infrastructure, these initiatives are set to significantly enhance supply chain efficiency and reliability across the U.S. East Coast.