The "historical" ceremonial groundbreaking was held in Greer where the South Carolina Inland Port will be constructed. From the left: U.S. Senator Tim Scott, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Governor Nikki Haley, S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome, Norfolk Southern Vice President of Intermodal and Automotive Marketing Mike McClellan, David Britt, Vice Chairman, Spartanburg County Council, and Rick Danner, Greer Mayor.
Governor Nikki Haley is surrounded by media at today's groundbreaking at the South Carolina Inland Port site in Greer.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said, "One in five jobs in South Carolina are created in South Carolina. Let it be said that the engines of the South Carolina economy are connected."
Courtesy of South Carolina Ports Authority
The rendering of the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer shows its location on 60 acres of property off East Poinsett Street.
That’s the label Greer Mayor Rick Danner put on today’s groundbreaking ceremonies at the $35 million Inland Port that is being constructed on East Poinsett Street.
Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) executives, state legislators and economic leaders/stakeholders/users of the inland port attended the event.
None summed up the proud voice of Danner explaining Greer’s excitement and ownership of an economic engine that will service the Upstate and beyond. The impact on Greer and surrounding communities is immeasurable.
"It is a historical day to be in Greer, South Carolina,” Danner said "In my 13 years as mayor I have never witnessed so many people or so much interest in a groundbreaking. Your presence today shows an unparalleled level of interest, optimism, and support for this facility."
The South Carolina Inland Port (SCIP) will extend the reach of the South Carolina Ports Authority’s marine facilities 220 miles inland. The SCIP is scheduled to open in September and will improve the efficiency of international freight movements between the Port of Charleston and companies across the region.
BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer is the driving force behind its partnership with the SCPA.
"This is a historic day for South Carolina," said Haley. "This signals that not only are we open for business, but we mean business. It shows that we're serious and that we're ahead of the game.
"I can offer businesses the port and can give them the inland port, too. We’ve got international companies, no unions and stability in South Carolina. This is a magical milestone in South Carolina and one day we can say 'I was there that day' (groundbreaking)."
“This is a momentous day for the South Carolina Port Authority and the entire state,” Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA, said. “In just six months from now, this site will be a fully operating container yard, an extension of the port within the thriving cargo base of the Upstate and I-85 corridor.”
Norfolk Southern will link the Greer and Charleston ports with overnight service. “The I-85 corridor is the fastest growing artery in the Southeast,” Newsome said. “This is an amazing time to be in the port business, especially in South Carolina.”
The 500-mile economic reach will provide market access to 94 million consumers within the one-day drive.
"It is a real economic engine and our ace in the hole," Graham said. "The I-85 corridor is also an economic engine and to now have those two engines connected is tremendous. It's going to pay great dividends for this state."
“This project leverages the best capabilities of Norfolk Southern and the SCPA and will provide, new, cost-effective, rail-based intermodal solutions that should benefit all of the shoppers in the Upstate South Carolina region,” said Mike McClellan, vice president of intermodal and automotive marketing for Norfolk Southern.
The convergence of the port, rail, truck and air is unique to inland ports, said Paul Fisher, CEO, CenterPoint Properties. “This is a very new model and is unique in how the inland port can grow,” Fisher said. “Combining all four modes of transportation is a model we would like to see have success.”
The SCIP will consist of two 2,600-foot working tracks tying to Norfolk Southern’s main line as well as 5,200 feet of storage tracks with room for future expansions.
The SCPA will dismantle and relocate three rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) from Charleston to Greer for stacking containers in the yard, which will have 522 slots for shipping containers. The initial capacity is 40,000 containers annually but the facility could handle as many as 100,000 boxes in five years.
Work has been underway the past two weeks with site preparation – clearing and grading the property.