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Historic day! Inland Port makes Greer intermodal global player

First containerized shipment loaded onto railcars and shipped to Charleston

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, October 25, 2013

Enlarge photo

This is the first cargo container, previously brought into the Inland Port at Greer via truck, to be loaded on a railcar headed to the Port of Charleston for export.

Julie McCombs

This is the first cargo container, previously brought into the Inland Port at Greer via truck, to be loaded on a railcar headed to the Port of Charleston for export.



Enlarge photo

Elements of the Inland Port at Greer are at work with the port yard, container transported by truck on site, and then the cargo being placed on the Norfolk Southern train that will travel to the Port of Charleston.

Julie McCombs

Elements of the Inland Port at Greer are at work with the port yard, container transported by truck on site, and then the cargo being placed on the Norfolk Southern train that will travel to the Port of Charleston.



Enlarge photo

This is the first double stacked container on a Norfolk Southern railcar at the Inland Port at Greer. The weight and force of containers do not necessitate for them to be anchored.

Julie McCombs

This is the first double stacked container on a Norfolk Southern railcar at the Inland Port at Greer. The weight and force of containers do not necessitate for them to be anchored.



Enlarge photo

This long view of the Inland Port at Greer shows the 32 containers that are part of the first cargo to be shipped by Norfolk Southern to the Port of Charleston for export.

Julie McCombs

This long view of the Inland Port at Greer shows the 32 containers that are part of the first cargo to be shipped by Norfolk Southern to the Port of Charleston for export.



• Gallery of firsts

At 10:59 a.m. the first cargo container was lifted from the South Carolina Inland Port at Greer onto a Norfolk Southern railcar for its journey to the Port of Charleston, the nation's fourth busiest container port.

Today’s historic occasion marked the first time the $50 million Inland Port became fully functional as an intermodal transportation facility – exactly as designed just 18 months ago. Later tonight the 212-mile trip will have taken 32 trucks off the highway, reduced labor costs of driving and fuel costs estimated at $100 per trip.

The port has been operational for the past two weeks. Today marked all the parts of the intermodal port puzzle falling into place  – truck, rail and water. Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer has had cargo delivered frequently but has yet to use the Inland Port’s resources.

Mayor Rick Danner remembered groundbreaking on March 1 and looking forward to today. “It makes me harken back and it gives me chills,” Danner said. “As historic a day that was at groundbreaking, I made reference that the day cargo moved from the Inland Port would be as important. This is truly a historic day.”

Danner said the entire perspective of Greer has changed with the functional port. “Up until this point we could only talk conceptually what (the Inland Port) would mean to the city and business. This changes the entire dynamic,” Danner said.

“I think what happened here is we have formed a partnership with (upstate entities) that can yield incredible results in the future,” said Reno Deaton, Executive Director of the Greer Development Corporation.

Deaton has been inundated with inquiries since spring that have led to more than 22 visits from companies interested in doing business with the port. “It gives us the opportunity to give companies an opportunity to now see it in action. I think it’s a compelling story to companies wanting to use this facility and invest in our community.”

Gov. Nikki Haley and S.C. State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome visited the port Wednesday for a brief walk-through. At the time the facility had been operational except for the rail. Trucks have been arriving daily using the Dobson Road entrance.

“In the long term, the Inland Port will be catalyst for redefining how distribution is done in South Carolina and surrounding areas,” said Newsome. “We have to focus on innovative solutions to logistics challenges. I think we’ll look back on this as an extremely good investment.”

Norfolk Southern will run on a limited schedule until the port is fully serviceable, a port official said. The railroad spur coming into the port from the east is not completed. Trains travel the main Norfolk Southern line west to 4th Street. It then backs into the port to nearby cranes.

For the record, here are the historic firsts registered at the Greer Inland Port today:

10:59 – First container loaded onto railcar Friday mornng for export from Charleston.

11:22 – first double stack on the railcar.

32 – containers lifted onto NS railcars, some double stacked.

20 – freight cars.

16 ­ – number on the rubber-tiered gantry crane used to lift containers onto the railcar.

47 – degrees with wind at 7 mph gusting to 16 mph.

2 – minutes to unload first container from flatbed on truck onto rail car

40 – seconds it usually takes to unload from flatbed on truck to rail car

8797 – Norfolk Southern engine number of train making first trip from Inland Port to Charleston.

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