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SC Ports drives economic growth in the Upstate

November 18, 2022

SC Ports celebrates the expansion of Inland Port Greer. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)

CHARLESTON, SC — NOV. 18, 2022 — South Carolina Ports’ ongoing expansion of Inland Port Greer supports the supply chains of port-dependent businesses and drives economic growth in the Upstate.

SC Ports’ teammates, elected leaders and community partners gathered today to celebrate the completed rail expansion at Inland Port Greer. They also touted the next phase of expansion that will double cargo capacity at the rail-served inland port.

“Nine years into operations, we are thrilled to be expanding the cargo capacity and rail capabilities at Inland Port Greer to better serve our customers’ supply chains,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said. “We are proud to play a role in supporting Upstate companies’ success. The growth of Inland Port Greer has truly been on the fast track.”

Launching the state’s first inland port

Inland Port Greer opened in 2013 with BMW Manufacturing Co. as the launch customer. The inland terminal quickly surpassed initial design capacity estimates.

In fiscal year 2022, Inland Port Greer handled more than 150,000 rail lifts — meaning 150,000 containers were moved on or off Norfolk Southern trains.

Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland with Norfolk Southern’s daily, overnight rail service, enabling imports and exports to quickly flow between Charleston and the Upstate.

This has proved crucial for just-in-time manufacturing operations and retailers’ supply chains. The bustling logistics hub now moves cargo for numerous companies, including BMW, Michelin, Adidas, Eastman, First Solar, TTI Floorcare and Visual Comfort & Co.

Inland Port Greer operates 24/7 and runs similarly to a container terminal, with operators moving containers on and off trains instead of ships.

“Before this facility opened, one truck driver could go to Charleston and back in a day. Now that same truck driver can come here five to 10 times a day to load and unload containers,” Inland Port Greer Terminal Manager Will Angelich said. “Inland Port Greer provides efficiencies and reliability for companies’ supply chains. I am very proud of our team of 60-plus people for their dedication to keeping the supply chain fluid.”

SC Ports’ two rail-served inland ports also generate environmental benefits for South Carolina. The S.C. Energy Office estimated that use of both Inland Ports Greer and Dillon in 2021 minimized carbon emissions by roughly 11,500 tons and saved an estimated 970,000 gallons of diesel fuel, compared to using only trucks to move an equivalent amount of cargo.

Expanding Inland Port Greer

The consistent growth of port customers spurred the expansion of Inland Port Greer, while global supply chain challenges reinforced the need for more capacity.

The first phase of expansion involved building an additional rail processing track and two rail storage tracks within the terminal. The addition of 8,000 feet of new rail will meet cargo demands through 2040.

The next phase of expansion involves expanding the container yard by 15 acres to the east and the west to handle 50% more cargo.

The expansion also involves doubling the size of the existing chassis yard capacity and building new facilities for heavy lift maintenance and terminal operations. The full project is slated for completion in winter 2024.

The more than $30 million expansion is funded by both SC Ports’ revenues and a portion of a $25 million BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant. The grant was awarded to the S.C. Department of Transportation for its Upstate Express Corridor Program.

“The expansion of Inland Port Greer adds more space for containers and trains to meet the capacity needs of our customers,” said Ed Stehmeyer, SC Ports’ general manager of projects and design. “The goal of the terminal expansion is to bolster the Upstate intermodal infrastructure supply chain and further develop the inland terminal to handle more cargo for our customers.”

Building key port infrastructure

With the support of the SC Legislature, SC Ports is also building the Navy Base Intermodal Facility in North Charleston. This rail-served cargo yard will move more cargo to and from Inland Ports Greer and Dillon, efficiently transporting goods throughout the state.

The Navy Base Intermodal Facility will be served by Norfolk Southern, CSX and Palmetto Railways when it opens in July 2025. The modern cargo yard will sit one mile from Leatherman Terminal to ensure speed-to-market for port-dependent businesses throughout the Southeast.

“We are continuing to invest in critical port infrastructure around the state to provide more connectivity, capacity and fluidity for our customers,” Melvin said. “Our infrastructure investments help Upstate companies be successful, which supports new jobs and opportunities in the region.”

SC Ports officials and elected leaders celebrate the completed rail expansion at Inland Port Greer and kicked off the next phase of expansion that will add more cargo capacity. (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)

Notable quotes from elected leaders:

“Investments in our ports system are critically important to expanding our state’s economy as a whole and creating jobs for South Carolinians. By enhancing port infrastructure — including expanding Inland Port Greer, building the Navy Base Intermodal Facility and deepening Charleston Harbor — we are ensuring that South Carolina remains globally competitive.” — Governor Henry McMaster

“Our port system touches so many of our businesses and helps recruit big economic development wins to South Carolina. It is so important that we continue investing in port infrastructure and capacity to remain competitive as a state. These infrastructure investments lead to more opportunities for South Carolinians.” — Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette

“This expansion is great news for manufacturers who use the Inland Port in Greer and the Port of Charleston. The additional capacity at Inland Port Greer will bring even more investment and jobs to the Upstate, helping our companies grow. I am proud to have joined my South Carolina colleagues in support of this important project which will benefit manufacturers across our entire state. This investment will pay dividends for American manufacturing in the years to come.” — US Senator Lindsey Graham

“South Carolina’s ports continue to be a world-class hub for commerce and the economic engine of our state. I am proud of the work Team South Carolina has done to make this project possible, and I look forward to seeing the economic impact that the expansion of Inland Port Greer will have on the Upstate and across the Southeast.”  — US Senator Tim Scott

“SC Ports is a major economic driver for our region, generating a $33 billion annual economic impact in the Upstate. Many Upstate companies depend on SC Ports to handle their imports and exports. The expansion of Inland Port Greer will support our companies and bring new business to the region, creating more economic prosperity throughout the Upstate.” — Congressman William Timmons

“SC Ports’ Inland Port Greer is a strong supply chain partner for our companies, ensuring that they can get the materials they need and have access to global markets. I look forward to the future growth that this expansion will bring because when SC Ports is successful, it directly benefits the Upstate.” — Speaker Murrell Smith

“As SC Ports expands its cargo capacity and rail capabilities, South Carolina will become more competitive, moving more goods for S.C. companies. Investments that help our port grow directly benefit our state’s economy.” — SC Representative Bill Sandifer, chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee and vice chairman of the Review and Oversight Commission on the South Carolina State Ports Authority

“SC Ports’ growth creates a ripple effect across our state, bringing new investments and jobs to South Carolina. As Inland Port Greer expands to further support port-dependent businesses, we look forward to seeing continued economic growth in the Upstate.” — President of the South Carolina Senate Thomas Alexander

“Inland Port Greer provides Upstate companies with a direct connection to the Port of Charleston with overnight rail. This expansion of Inland Port Greer will support new jobs and bring economic benefits to our communities.” — SC Senator Scott Talley

“Investing in critical port infrastructure will strengthen our state’s supply chains and bring economic opportunities for our citizens. We must continue to provide the capacity and connectivity our businesses need to thrive. The expansion of Inland Port Greer is critical for South Carolina’s continued success.” — SC Senator Harvey Peeler, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee

“Having a rail-served inland port in our backyard is a huge competitive advantage for Greer. For nearly a decade, we have seen how Inland Port Greer supports our companies and attracts new business to the Upstate. This expansion will undoubtedly create more opportunities for our citizens.” — Greer Mayor Rick Danner

Notable quotes from customers:

“We depend on reliability and speed at every step of our manufacturing process. SC Ports continues to deliver for BMW. Inland Port Greer has proved incredibly beneficial to our supply chain by efficiently moving parts that are critical to vehicle production. BMW also exports 60% of our South Carolina-made vehicles through the Port of Charleston to 120 countries around the world.” — BMW Manufacturing President and CEO Robert Engelhorn

“Michelin is committed to sustainability in all of our practices, from the way we manufacture our tires to the way they are delivered to our customers. Inland Port Greer enables Michelin to efficiently import materials and export tires to global markets through the Port of Charleston. Access to the rail-served inland port is a key element of Michelin’s successful supply chain, helping to create more jobs in the Upstate.” — Alexis Garcin, CEO and President, Michelin North America, Inc.

Notable quotes from project partners:

“SC Ports is an important economic engine for South Carolina and plays a critical role in our nation’s supply chain. Norfolk Southern is continuing to invest in South Carolina’s rail infrastructure to help achieve our own growth goals and create even more certainty for our customers. Expanding the rail capacity at Inland Port Greer will help us serve the Navy Base Intermodal Facility and enhance fluidity throughout the Southeast. This project is perfectly aligned with our mission to be a customer-centric, operations-driven transportation network.” — Norfolk Southern Group Vice President International Marketing and Sales Alexander Luc

“The SC Department of Transportation recognizes the importance of investing in all modes of transportation throughout the state in order to ensure that goods can move efficiently for our businesses and citizens. The SC Department of Transportation is proud to have been able to secure a $25 million federal grant in 2018 in order to expand rail capacity throughout the state, including at Inland Port Greer.” — SC Department of Transportation Secretary Christy A. Hall

“We are thrilled to partner with SC Ports on the expansion of Inland Port Greer. We see up close every day how the inland port efficiently moves good for companies throughout the Southeast. This expansion project will double existing cargo capacity, providing more space for containers and supporting customers’ growth.” — Elham Farzam, PE, president and CEO of Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering, PLLC

About South Carolina Ports Authority

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. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC 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. Please visit www.scspa.com to learn more about SC Ports.

Press & Contact Information

Broadcast Media Inquiries:
Kelsi Brewer, Director, Corporate Communications & Community Giving
843-577-8676
kbrewer@scspa.com

Print/Digital Media Inquiries:
Liz Crumley, Manager, Corporate Communications
843-577-8121
lcrumley@scspa.com

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Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

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