Intermodal rail lifts up 50% since 2011

Staff Report
Published Feb. 12, 2014

The Port of Charleston has increased its intermodal rail volume by 50% since 2011.

In an effort to grow rail container traffic, the S.C. State Ports Authority has worked with ocean carriers to recruit and direct discretionary cargo to and from Atlanta; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; Chicago; and Cincinnati, according to the authority.

In 2013, international intermodal rail lifts in Charleston increased 18% from 2012 to nearly 145,000 containers.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in intermodal rail traffic over the last two years, as more ocean carriers utilize our capable intermodal network to fill their ships with heavy export loads for transit through our natural, deep-water harbor,” S.C. State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a statement.

The opening of the S.C. Inland Port in Greer late last year and the new RapidRail drayage program have also increased rail contract traffic.

The inland port expands the ports authority’s rail capabilities with a new intermodal point along Interstate 85. The ports authority also launched RapidRail in April 2012. The program coordinates container movements to and from rail yards. RapidRail accounts for 85% of rail drays.

The Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, a joint project with the S.C. Department of Commerce and Palmetto Railways, will boost intermodal capabilities when it opens in 2018.

“Charleston offers competitive rail facilities and services, providing our customers an advantage to moving discretionary cargo through our port,” Newsome said.

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