The South Carolina State Ports Authority said it has moved Charleston's roll-on, roll-off cargo-handling to the Columbus Street Terminal, which has been undergoing a $21.7-million expansion designed to handle the growing export business of BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, S.C.
The expansion project, which has been going on for the last six months adds more than 70 acres of storage yard and additional rail infrastructure.
The first BMW shipments arrived by rail last Tuesday. Until last week, most of Charleston’s ro-ro business was handled at the Union Pier Terminal.
The SCSPA said the primary driver of the work is BMW’s growing export business. BMW manufactures X5, X6 and the all-new X3 vehicles at its Spartanburg plant. In 2010, BMW’s exports of the X-series to 130 global markets were valued at more than $4 billion.
The Columbus Street expansion will also serve increases in other rolling stock, large machinery, power-generating equipment and additional non-container cargoes.
Ships serving the BMW business began calling at Columbus Street Terminal over the weekend with the arrival of “K” Line’s California Highway. Additional carriers including Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Hoegh Line and ARC offer roll-on, roll-off service in Charleston, and numerous other breakbulk carriers routinely call Columbus Street Terminal.
As a result of the move, daily trainloads of vehicles will no longer cross streets south of Columbus Street Terminal. Cargo operations, including other rail, will continue at Union Pier until the new cruise terminal opens and the redevelopment of non-maritime properties begins.
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