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Inland Port concludes first expansion project

Molly Hulsey //April 18, 2022//

Inland Port concludes first expansion project

Molly Hulsey //April 18, 2022//

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The rail extension will allow the Greer port to deboard containers from three trains at a time. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)The first phase in the expansion of Greer’s Inland Port is days away from completion after a four-month delay due to supply chain disruptions.

Bullock Construction out of Maryland has added close to 9,700 feet of track to the port’s rail system, allowing the port to deboard containers from three trains at a time, according to Ed Stehmeyer, general manager of projects and design for the S.C. Ports Authority. Two additional storage rails added to the outside of the existing three tracks will allow the port to welcome larger trains.

In March, Stehmeyer told GSA Business Report that Bullock Construction expected to complete the project by mid to late April, allowing the port to plow forward with additional projects including the expansion of the cargo yard, designed by Greer’s Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering, and the construction of a heavy lift maintenance building.

The total project, slated for a June groundbreaking, had an estimated $28 million price tag in the port system’s original plans but Stehmeyer expects the cost to be higher due to rising building material prices.

Once complete, the S.C. Ports Authority expects to grow Inland Port Greer capacity by 700 to 800 more TEUs, or 20-foot equivalent units.

“We started construction on one component of six for the expansion back in October [2021],” he said. “We bid the project out in the spring, and with supply chain issues being what they were, we had some long lead times on items that actually kept us from starting the project for about four months longer than we expected.”

Still, the S.C. Ports Authority remains on track for its 20-year game plan to expand capacity at the Inland Port, he said.

Barbara Melvin, COO and future CEO of the S.C. Ports Authority, said the ports system will advertise for new positions within the next year, including operator, maintenance and electrician roles with the introduction of two additional cranes to the site. As of late March, the project had created 58 positions at the port.

The Greer port brings the system closer to 100 million more consumers within a nights’ drive than the Charleston port alone.

“That’s really how a port grows, by getting closer to a great population that you serve,” Melvin said. “This is really integral: the expansion in Greer ties so nicely with all of the Charleston expansions and then this last critical rail project that we have going. I think it just highlights theconnectivity of the Upstate and the use of the retail and manufacturing communities to the Charleston Port.”