Georgia's New Inland Terminal Open for Business

Gov. Nathan Deal, center, cuts a ribbon during the Grand Opening of the Appalachian Regional Port.
Gov. Nathan Deal, center, cuts a ribbon during the Grand Opening of the Appalachian Regional Port.

By The Maritime Executive 08-22-2018 10:40:41

Georgia Ports Authority has opened the Appalachian Regional Port. The inland terminal for the Port of Savannah extends the efficiencies of Georgia's port operations to new markets and is anticipated to attract new business to the Southeast U.S.

Located in Murray County, the new facility will provide logistics solutions for customers in a four-state region via intermodal rail services from CSX. It is sited on 42 acres adjacent to U.S. 411 and features easy access to Interstate 75. 

Operation of the terminal is anticipated to remove an estimated 50,000 trucks and 15 million truck miles from local highways every year. Handling both import and export containers, CSX will provide service on a direct, 388-mile rail route to and from the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal. The new rail terminal will be worked by three electric rubber-tired gantry cranes. Each has a lift capacity greater than 40 tons and, working together, can handle 100,000 container lifts per year.

Illya Copeland, executive director of the Murray County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), said the area offers prime locations for manufacturing and logistics development near the inland port. "Murray County features 16 sites offering more than 1,500 acres of developable land, most of which can support multiple developments," Copeland said. "Of the 1,500 acres, 258 acres are rail-front property."

He said the IDA bought a 382-acre tract in January, and is closing on two port-related projects in the park already.

The Georgia Ports Authority moved 378,767 TEUs in July, an increase of 12.7 percent, or 42,668 TEUs, compared to the same month last year. It was the second busiest month on record for the Port of Savannah. In Fiscal Year 2018 (July 2017—June 2018), rail cargo at Garden City Terminal increased by 16 percent (60,000 containers) for a total of 435,000 intermodal rail lifts. July continued that trend, with the busiest month on record for intermodal cargo, at 41,070 container moves, for an increase of 20.8 percent (7,087 containers) compared to July 2017. 

Greater capacity, via cost-effective 14,000-TEU vessels transiting the Panama Canal, is making Savannah a more competitive option to serve the Eastern U.S., and this, in part, is driving an increase in rail moves to markets such as Memphis and Nashville.