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SC Ports Authority, CSX discuss need for second inland port facility

SC Ports Authority, CSX discuss need for second inland port facility

Rail News: CSX Transportation

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) on Wednesday announced plans for a second inland port facility as a result of the success of its Inland Port Greer and the demand for more efficient international container movement between the Port of Charleston and growing markets in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Port officials are in discussions with CSX to determine the viability of Dillion, S.C., as a potential location for the next inland port, said SCPA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome in a press release. The parties hope to finalize plans by year’s end, he said.

The Dillion site offers access to an existing CSX mainline, which opens a different intermodal marketplace from Inland Port Greer and provides access to the Southeast and Midwest, port officials said. The location also would be close to Interstate 95, a key transportation artery in the Southeast.

“A second inland port in South Carolina would expand transportation options in the state, lowering shipping costs for South Carolina businesses and improving competitiveness,” said Dean Piacente, CSX vice president, intermodal. “This project would also generate substantial public benefits by creating jobs, spurring economic development and reducing traffic congestion on I-26 and I-95.”

Hamburg Port Consultants are studying facility design, cost and construction timeline. Port authorities are pursuing federal funding through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to help pay for the project.

About 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 increased 166 percent since 2011, driving increased demand for additional inland port facilities, port officials said.