The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), which owns and operates the Port of Charleston, today officially opened its second inland port, located in Dillon, about a 161-mile drive northwest on Interstates 26 and 95.
The facility, located close to I-95, is designed to handle the port's growing rail volumes to interior markets, and to expand its reach into the Carolinas, the Northeast and Midwest, port authority executives said. The first inland port, in Greer, opened in 2013. It handles a large amount of traffic supporting German automaker BMW, which has a big production facility in Spartanburg, S.C. Greer handled a record 124,817 rail moves in calendar year 2017, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year, according to port figures.
The inland port concept, which is used by states like Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina, is based upon direct rail service connecting each state's ports with customers in interior markets, rather than relying on trucks to move goods to and from port facilities. Dillon is expected to convert an estimated 45,000 container movements from truck to rail in the first year of operation, state officials said. CSX Transportation will provide the rail service.
"Inland ports provide needed infrastructure in the interior of the state to support the movement of freight to and from our marine terminals," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, in a statement. Today, nearly 25 percent of the port's container volume moves by rail.