South Carolina Plans Second Inland Port
The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has announced plans to pursue a second inland port facility.
The plan comes as a result of the success of its Inland Port Greer as well as demand for greater efficiency in international container movements between the Port of Charleston and growing markets in South Carolina and North Carolina.
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, a critical transportation artery in the Southeast, is an important benefit of the location as well as current port users in the area, which represent significant base cargo opportunities for the facility.
Inland Port Greer uniquely involves the convergence of four modes of transportation at one site, with the Port, rail, truck and the nearby GSP International Airport all handling international commerce for the region's shippers. It operates 24/7 to serve the just-in-sequence supply chain needs of SCPA's major customers. Located within 500 miles of 100 million consumers in the Eastern U.S., Greer is an ideal for overnight distribution, says the port.
"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.
"If it is feasible, an additional inland port will be a great diversification of our logistics footprint. We believe that building intermodal infrastructure in our state goes hand-in-hand with the significant investments we are making to our port facilities in Charleston."
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 grown 166 percent since 2011, driving increased demand for additional inland port facilities.
"While our discussions are preliminary, the success of Inland Port Greer demonstrates the market demand for additional intermodal hubs to support growing volumes of cargo moving to and from Charleston by rail," Newsome said. "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."
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 is currently the only inland port in South Carolina.
Container Volumes Rise
SCPA reported a 3.8 percent increase in TEU volume fiscal year to date, with 1.45 million TEUs handled since the period began in July.
March was a solid finish to the third quarter of fiscal year 2016, with 170,740 TEUs moved last month. Vehicles remain a strong segment within the breakbulk business segment, and SCPA handled 25,839 vehicles in March. Fiscal year to date, finished vehicle volume is up 13 percent compared to the previous year.
Inland Port Greer handled 8,821 rail moves in March, achieving consecutive months of record-breaking volume. Fiscal year-to-date moves are up 66 percent, with 67,032 lifts since July.