The SC Ports Authority officially announced intentions for a second inland port, similar to the Greer Inland Port. The organization hopes to finalize plans for a site in Dillon, S.C., in the upper east corner of the state.
The organization had no additional details about the cost of the project, timelines or potential anchor users, according to media representative Erin Dhand. Details will be released as they occur.
Upstate Business Journal previously reported that the second port would likely be in the next fiscal budget, according to its CEO and president Jim Newsome. The site in Dillon would diversify the authority’s logistics footprint by adding an additional intermodal marketplace along a critical transport artery in the Southeast.
“According to a recent economic impact study, port-related jobs pay 40 percent higher than the statewide average,” said T.F. Finklea, Dillon County Council chairman. “We are excited about the possibility for Dillon to be the site of the next Inland Port and look forward to partnering with the South Carolina Ports Authority to help make this a reality. Today is a great day for Dillon and our region.”
The announcement follows plans to double the size of the Greer inland port, which had a $26.7 billion economic impact on the Upstate in 2014. The impact included $5.2 billion in labor income and about 95,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to a study by the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business.
“Inland Port Greer is one of SCPA’s most successful investments, as the growth of intermodal container volume movement in our state and region requires appropriate facilities in the interior to ground loaded and empty containers and to leverage the efficiency and sustainability of rail transportation,” stated SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome today. “While our discussions are preliminary, the success of Inland Port Greer demonstrates the market demand for additional intermodal hubs to support growing volumes of cargo moving to and from Charleston by rail.”
The ports authority reported 260,000 international intermodal rail lifts through Charleston last year, with intermodal volume growing 166 percent since 2011. The Charleston port is the deepest in the Southeast, and the SC Ports Authority facilitates 187,200 statewide jobs and $53 billion in annual economic impact, according to the organization.
“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 Picante, vice president of intermodal with CSX , which is working with the ports authority on the project. “This project would also generate substantial public benefits by creating jobs, spurring economic development and reducing traffic congestion on I-26 and I-95.”
The facility design and footprint, costs and construction timeline are being studied by Hamburg Port Consultants. The authority plans to use its own capital investment alongside federal infrastructure funding assistance through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to pay for the project.