Charleston, S.C. - Over 150 port users, partners, business leaders and elected officials gathered at the SC Inland Port (SCIP) in Greer today to welcome a ceremonial train trip by Norfolk Southern, SC Ports Authority partner for the SCIP.
"This is a great opportunity for SC Ports to celebrate the fully open and operational Inland Port with our partner, Norfolk Southern," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. "We have opened a new intermodal origin and destination in the fastest growing part of the Southeast, the I-85 corridor. We've had tremendous support from the Upstate and look forward to growing our Greer cargo base this year."
The Norfolk Southern inspection train made a special trip from Columbia to Greer to commemorate the successful SCIP opening. The train, which consists of restored vintage locomotives and passenger cars, is traditionally used for company officers to view the railroad's property and visit its employees. It includes five passenger cars, with the final car offering an up-close look at the track with 28 theater-style seats facing a rear observation window.
Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman thanked local elected officials and administrators for their "hard and very fast work to pave the way to bring this project from concept to reality in such a short amount of time. This year alone, Norfolk Southern will take 25,000 truck moves off I-26, saving fuel and emissions and alleviating congestion. Considering the growing pressures on truck operations, we anticipate this new service will provide upstate shippers with a cost-effective alternative for fulfilling their supply chain," he said.
"We're focused on growing business in South Carolina, and there's no question that the Inland Port helps us to do that," said SC Governor Nikki Haley. "Its presence in Greer will attract new companies to the Upstate and foster the expansion of those already located here. The partnership between the Port and Norfolk Southern not only strengthens our competitiveness as a manufacturing state, but one that can efficiently transport goods to customers nationally and internationally."
"The Inland Port is a game-changing investment that will shape the future of not only the Upstate but all of South Carolina," said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. "Even though it's more than 200 miles from the coast, the Inland Port will act as a force multiplier for the Port of Charleston. It's yet another tool for helping bring new business to South Carolina and for helping increase the efficiency of those already here.
"I am pleased to welcome the Norfolk Southern Inspection Train and the officers aboard to South Carolina and the Inland Port," said U.S. Representative Jeff Duncan. "The Inland Port serves an imperative role in the transportation of goods throughout our state and the region, and will continue to remain a source of economic development for South Carolina for years to come."
The Inland Port opened in October of 2013 to improve the efficiency of international container movements between the Port of Charleston, South Carolina Upstate and neighboring states. In partnership with Norfolk Southern, the project utilizes an overnight train service to handle double-stack container trains to and from the Port of Charleston's productive seaport facilities. The SCIP is expected to convert an estimated 25,000 container movements from truck to rail in the first year of operation.
About the South Carolina Ports Authority
The South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Georgetown and Greer, handling international commerce valued at more than $63 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit www.scspa.com