Inland Port Greer is expanding and has received a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support the project that will include an extension of Norfolk Southern’s rail line. The expansion news comes two months after the port celebrated record growth on its five-year anniversary.
In October, the port crew lifted a cargo container from a rail car for the 446,280th time, a number 62% ahead of projections when the port was opened in 2013.
The Upstate Express Corridor Capacity Expansion Project will expand the inland port, extend the lead track and lengthen the rail line to approximately 15,100 feet. The expansion includes acquiring additional equipment for the handling, loading and unloading of containers and the paving of up to 40 acres, according to a news release.
“As S.C. Ports continues to see record growth, this funding is critical for the expansion efforts at Inland Port Greer,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, in the release. “This project will support local manufacturing, increase capacity for logistics growth, and improve transportation networks supporting traffic flows for imports and exports throughout the state and region.”
The Greer facility is linked to the Port of Charleston by the Norfolk Southern main rail line that provides overnight service between Charleston and the Upstate, extending the ports authority’s reach 212 miles inland.
Approximately 22% of SCPA’s containers move by rail, and intermodal volume has seen growth of 180% since 2011. With the success of Inland Port Greer, the ports authority opened a second intermodal facility, Inland Port Dillon, in April.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said the department will spend $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding to 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The grants are made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Grants program and support road, rail, transit and port infrastructure projects across the country.
“We are very appreciative for the support of our congressional delegation, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, Secretary Chao, and the U.S. DOT,” said Bill Stern, S.C. Ports Authority board chairman in a statement. “This is a strong, collaborative partnership by public and private entities.”
Stern said the project will “serve the entire Southeast region for years to come.”
The South Carolina Department of Transportation, Norfolk Southern, BMW and the South Carolina Ports Authority partnered on the grant application.