Inland Port rail moves continue record pace, expansion options studied

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, October 20, 2016

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Inland Port rail moves continue record pace, expansion options studied

Jim Fair

As the Greer Inland Port continues to set new rail moves records each month a decision is being made where expansion should occur and when.

Rail volume at the port increased 18.6 percent during the first quarter, with 26,216 moves handled since July, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) announced today.

The Inland Port handled 9,521 rail moves in September, another monthly volume record. The projection is for 110,000 rail moves in fiscal year 2017.

The SCPA Board of Directors, last June, approved $2.2 million toward expansion at the inland port – $1.6 million in fiscal year 2017 and $600,000 to complete the expansion in FY 2018.

A capacity study was conducted last year to determine how to best serve the growing cargo volumes in Greer.

Expansion at the Inland Port is in the hands of consultants, said Michael Hoffman, Terminal Manager at the Greer Inland Port.

“We’re still looking at our next move toward expansion,” Hoffman said. “Consultants are analyzing our metrics to several proposals with operations and internally with day-to-day operations.”

The port operates on about 38 acres. Initial talks on expansion suggested growing the facility to 70 of the total site’s 100 acres.

“We want to make the best use of the space we have,” Hoffman said. “We’re looking at which end we want to expand and what we want to do.”

Two additional cranes – for a total of five – and additional staffing have been added to handle the increasing container volume.

“We need to stay ahead and any expansion will include more equipment and staffing,” Hoffman said. “This is a good success story.”

The rail increases coupled with Michelin and BMW’s planned production expansion in the Upstate, means more staffing and equipment will be needed. Dollar Tree is opening what is reported to be the largest distribution center, 1.5 million-square-feet, in the Upstate on 214 acres in Cowpens, and the Inland Port will serve it.

Norfolk Southern has already added a dedicated Greer-to-Charleston train with more rail cars.

The SCPA is also opening an inland port in Dillon, near I-95. The cost is projected at $5.1 million.




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