Booming inland port to expand in Upstate S.C.

Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston's reach 212 miles inland. Craig Lee, S.C. PORTS

Posted on May 3, 2021

CHARLESTON — South Carolina Ports is expanding Inland Port Greer on the heels of sustained record activity at the rail-served inland port in Upstate South Carolina.

Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland via Norfolk Southern rail service, enabling companies throughout the Southeast and Midwest to quickly receive import goods and move export products to overseas markets.

Inland Port Greer operates 24/7 and offers a direct rail connection to the Port of Charleston. Situated along Interstate 85 between Greenville and Spartanburg Inland Port Greer reaches 94 million consumers within 500 miles, or a one-day truck trip.

The expansion of Inland Port Greer is supported, in part, by a $25 million BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the BUILD grant to the S.C. Department of Transportation to help fund the Upstate Express Corridor Program, which includes both the expansion of SC Ports’ Inland Port Greer and the lengthening of Norfolk Southern’s Greer Lead Track and Carlisle Siding Track.

“We are very appreciative of the support we received from S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, our congressional delegation, state leaders, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the S.C. Department of Transportation in securing this BUILD grant to expand this critical port-related infrastructure,” S.C. Ports Board Chairman Bill Stern said. “This will greatly enhance South Carolina’s supply chain for companies in the Upstate and beyond.”

The expansion of Inland Port Greer involves building additional rail-processing and storage tracks within the terminal, expanding the container yard to the east and west, enlarging the existing chassis yard and building new facilities for heavy-lift maintenance and terminal operations.

More than half of S.C. Ports’ $63.4 billion annual economic impact in South Carolina already occurs in the Upstate. Investing to expand Inland Port Greer will drive more port-related growth in the region. The additional capacity means more companies will locate near this critical infrastructure hub, driving jobs and economic growth for the Upstate.

“This funding supports the expansion of Inland Port Greer, which has been a true success story for South Carolina, growing significantly every year since opening,” S.C. Ports CEO Jim Newsome said. “We continue to invest in port infrastructure to handle more cargo for companies. Our strategic investments provide more capacity and efficiency, which attracts more companies to invest in our state.”

The BUILD grant also supports the expansion of Norfolk Southern’s Upstate rail network. These improvements include lengthening the lead track alongside the mainline track outside of Inland Port Greer in Greer, as well as providing additional capacity to the passing/siding track in Carlisle to accommodate longer trains carrying cargo to and from the Port of Charleston.

These complementary efforts will allow for additional container capacity for customers at Inland Port Greer, and additional rail infrastructure to enhance rail capacity and efficiency.

“The Upstate Express Corridor will greatly enhance South Carolina’s rail infrastructure and supply chain,” said Kathleen Smith, Norfolk Southern’s vice president of business development and real estate. “The BUILD grant supports these vital infrastructure projects, providing more economic growth for the state.”

Since opening in 2013 with BMW Manufacturing Co. as the launch customer, Inland Port Greer has consistently broken records for cargo handled. In March, Inland Port Greer reported its busiest month in history with 16,688 rail moves, up 20.3% from last March. Fiscal-year-to-date, Inland Port Greer has handled 119,460 rail moves, up nearly 5% from the same time a year prior.

“BMW Manufacturing’s success as the largest automotive exporter by value in the United States would not be possible without our strong relationship with SC Ports,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “We export 70% of our South Carolina-made vehicles through the Port of Charleston to 125 countries around the world. BMW was also the first customer for S.C. Ports’ rail-served Inland Port Greer in 2013. Inland Port Greer has proved incredibly beneficial to our supply chain. We depend on reliability and speed to produce every car to order, and S.C. Ports continues to deliver for BMW.”

South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity.

S.C. Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. S.C. Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Visit www.scspa.com to learn more about SC Ports.

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