South Carolina Ports Authority (SC Ports) on November 18 celebrated the completion of the first phase of a more than $30 million capacity expansion project at Inland Port Greer, served exclusively by Norfolk Southern (NS).
Spurred by the growth of port customers and supply chain challenges fueling the need for more capacity, SC Ports said it has built another rail processing track and two rail storage tracks within the Greer, SC terminal it owns and operates. The addition of 8,000 feet of new rails is expected to meet freight needs through 2040, it said.
The next phase of the project involves expanding the container facility 15 acres east and west to handle 50% more cargo.
The expansion also includes doubling the capacity of the existing chassis warehouse and building new facilities for heavy load maintenance and terminal operations, according to SC Ports. The entire project is expected to be completed in winter 2024. According to NS, it will help remove more than 150,000 trucks from the highway annually and avoid 5 million gallons of diesel consumption and 50,000 tons of emissions.
Both the proceeds from SC Ports and a portion of a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) will fund the more than $30 million expansion, according to SC Ports. The grant was awarded to the South Carolina Department of Transportation in 2018 for its Upstate Express Corridor Program.
Opened in 2013, Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach by 212 miles inland with NS’ daily overnight train service, according to SC Ports. It operates 24/7 and handled more than 150,000 rail lifts in fiscal year 2022. Inland Port Greer’s customers include BMW, Michelin, Adidas, Eastman, First Solar, TTI Floorcare and Visual Comfort & Co.
“The expansion of Inland Port Greer creates more space for containers and trains to meet our customers’ capacity needs,” said Ed Stehmeyer, general manager of projects and design for SC Ports. “The goal of the terminal expansion is to strengthen the Upstate [South Carolina] Intermodal infrastructure supply chain and further development of the inland terminal to handle more cargo for our customers.”
“After nine years of operations, we are excited to expand freight and rail capacity at Inland Port Greer to better serve our customers’ supply chains,” said Barbara Melvin, President and CEO of SC Ports. “We are proud to play a role in helping businesses thrive in Upstate.”
“SC Ports continues to supply for BMW,” said Robert Engelhorn, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, the inland port’s first customer. “Inland Port Greer has proven incredibly beneficial to our supply chain, moving parts critical to vehicle production efficiently. BMW also exports 60% of our South Carolina-made vehicles to 120 countries around the world through the Port of Charleston.”
“Norfolk Southern continues to invest in South Carolina’s rail infrastructure to meet our own growth goals and provide even more security for our customers,” said Alexander Luc, vice president of international marketing and sales for NS Group. “The expansion of rail capacity at Inland Port Greer will help us serve the Navy Base Intermodal Facility and improve flow throughout the Southeast.”
SC Ports held a groundbreaking ceremony in North Charleston on October 17 for the Navy Base Intermodal Facility, which will provide the Port of Charleston with rail near docks and barges. The facility will be served by NS, CSX and Palmetto Railways when it opens in July 2025.