April 18, 2023

SC Ports celebrates growth of Inland Port Dillon

SC Ports’ Inland Port Dillon had a record month for containers. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

South Carolina Ports celebrates the five-year anniversary of Inland Port Dillon with record number of containers handled at the rail-served inland port in March.

“It was five years ago — almost to the day — that we were here opening this facility. What an accomplished five years we have had,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said. “It has been amazing to see the growth at Inland Port Dillon, as well as with all the port-dependent businesses in the Pee Dee region that rely on SC Ports.”

The idea for Inland Port Dillon came from seeing the success of SC Ports’ first inland port in Greer, which opened in 2013. SC Ports invested in its second inland port in Dillon, which opened in 2018 with Harbor Freight Tools as the anchor tenant.

“This was an innovative and cutting-edge idea at the time that few ports in the country were undertaking, but we believed strongly that South Carolina Ports needed rail-served inland ports in South Carolina,” Melvin said. “We wanted to extend the Port of Charleston’s reach inland to better serve our customers.”

Inland Port Dillon provides importers and exporters with a direct connection to the Port of Charleston via CSX rail. The operation swiftly handles goods for importers like Harbor Freight Tools and exporters like International Paper, The Anderson’s and Darling International.

Inland Port Dillon supports agribusiness by connecting farmers to international markets. Customers like Performance Ag, Palmetto Grain, Smithfield Grain, Northwest Grains and C&M Hog Farms move grain and soybeans through the inland port.

“The dedication and skill of our Inland Port Dillon team has created growth in the region,” Melvin said. “Port investments create jobs. When looking at all the companies that are tied to the port, our port operations support more than 25,000 jobs in the Pee Dee region.”

March marked the busiest month in Inland Port Dillon’s history, with more than 4,300 containers handled. This is a 16% increase from the previous record set in December 2022. Inland Ports Greer and Dillon handled 17,534 rail moves combined in March.

SC Ports handled 193,085 TEUs and 107,084 pier containers in March, for a total of nearly 2 million TEUs and around 1.09 million pier containers handled fiscal-year-to-date. SC Ports also handled 15,692 vehicles last month.

“We proudly move freight for South Carolina, and we are equally as proud to be a part of the Dillon community,” Melvin said. “We look forward to more growth here in the years to come.”

Notable quotes:

“Investments in our ports system are critically important to expanding our state’s economy and creating jobs for South Carolinians. In just five short years, Inland Port Dillon has helped to spur economic growth in the Pee Dee and has created even more opportunities for our people and business community."

— Governor Henry McMaster

“Inland Port Dillon connects the Pee Dee region to the Port of Charleston via rail, helping existing companies grow and also attract new investments to the region. The Inland Port demonstrates the importance of building critical infrastructure in rural counties. I appreciate the growth of the Inland Port over the past five years and recognize that when it comes to business development and growth in South Carolina, the best is yet to come.”

— US Senator Lindsey Graham

“South Carolina is driven by agriculture. We are thrilled to see that the success of Inland Port Dillon continues to drive agricultural exports from South Carolina. By connecting farmers to global markets, the rail-served inland port creates agribusiness opportunities, spurring growth for our farmers and our port system.”

— SC Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers

“South Carolina Ports are a huge driver of our state's robust economy. When I visited the Inland Port Dillon last month, I witnessed firsthand how the port connects South Carolina businesses to the global marketplace. I am proud that South Carolina's Seventh District and the Pee Dee play such an integral role in our state's port system.”

— Congressman Russell Fry

“Seeing commerce at work at Inland Port Dillon fills me with pride for our community. Over the past five years, we have watched as this operation has grown and supported our businesses. From the people operating the cranes, to the companies relying on the inland port to send and receive goods, Inland Port Dillon has helped create jobs in the Pee Dee region. We are excited to see continued economic growth for our community.”

— Representative Jackie E. “Coach” Hayes

“Our entire region has benefited from Inland Port Dillon. It has created new opportunities and boosted our economy. For those working at Inland Port Dillon, they have found good careers in the logistics industry. For those companies that rely on Inland Port Dillon, we have seen many of them invest in operations, expand their facilities and hire more people. We look forward to what future growth in the Pee Dee.”

— Senator Kent Williams

“SC Ports is a major economic driver for our state and our region, generating a $7.1 billion economic impact in the Pee Dee each year. The continued growth of Inland Port Dillon will help our port-dependent businesses thrive and create more economic opportunities in the future.”

— Senator Gerald Malloy