The South Carolina Inland Port (SCIP) will extend the reach of the South Carolina Ports Authority’s (SCPA) marine facilities 212 miles into the interior. Opening in September 2013, the facility will improve the efficiency of international freight movements between the Port of Charleston and companies across the Southeast region while spurring additional economic investment in the area.
“This is a momentous day for the South Carolina Ports Authority,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA. “In just six months from now, this site will be a fully operating container yard, an extension of the port.”
The SCIP will be linked to the Port of Charleston by the Norfolk Southern main rail line that provides overnight service between Charleston and the Upstate. The site is positioned along the I-85 corridor – the fastest-growing part of the region – between the key markets of Charlotte and Atlanta.
The project uniquely involves the convergence of four modes of transportation at one site, with the port, rail, truck and the nearby airport all handling international commerce for the region’s shippers. By utilising rail, importers and exporters can maximise tonnage moved per gallon of fuel, providing both environmental benefits and cost savings. Shippers in the region also will benefit from proximate access to empty containers for loading export goods and the availability of intermodal chassis on site.
Officials at the groundbreaking also highlighted the importance of inland infrastructure as a complement to the Port of Charleston’s waterside capabilities, including the deepest harbour in the Southeast region.
“The inland port will play a crucial role in helping companies here move their goods more efficiently than ever before,” said South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
The inland port is one aspect of the SCPA’s 10-year, US$1.3 billion capital plan that includes major investments in both new and existing facilities, equipment and information systems. Additionally, the state of South Carolina is investing nearly US$700m in port-related infrastructure, including $300m to fund the construction of Charleston’s post-45 Harbour Deepening Project, slated for completion by 2019.
Occupying 40 acres (16 ha) The SCIP will consist of two 2,600 foot (792 m) working railtracks linked to Norfolk Sothern’s main line as well as 5,200 feet of storage tracks with room for future expansions. The estimated cost of the project is approximately US$35m.
The SCPA will dismantle and relocate three rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) from Charleston to the site for stacking containers in the yard, which will have 552 container slots. While the initial capacity of the facility is around 40,000 containers annually, the facility could handle as many as 100,000 boxes in five years.