DILLON, SC – April 16, 2018 – Today South Carolina Ports Authority held the grand opening of Inland Port Dillon, its second inland facility constructed in the state to handle strong growth of the Port’s intermodal rail cargo volumes and deepen the Port’s reach into markets through the Carolinas to the Northeast and Midwest. Nearly 400 people gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Inland Port Dillon.
“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. “The addition of Inland Port Dillon to the Port’s network diversifies our reach and enables port users to gain logistics efficiencies through rail transportation of their cargo. We’ve had tremendous support from the Dillon region to date and look forward to growing our cargo base for the facility.”
Inland Port Dillon utilizes an existing CSX intermodal train service to handle container movement to and from the Port of Charleston’s productive seaport facilities. Inland Port Dillon is expected to convert an estimated 45,000 container movements from truck to rail in the first year of operation.
“Our ports system is one of the most important driving forces behind South Carolina’s recent economic success, and with the help of the Inland Port Dillon, it always will be,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “With two inland ports and the Port of Charleston soon to be the deepest on the East Coast, South Carolina has strategic advantages that no other state has, and that will continue to pay off for the people of our great state.”
The facility will handle the growing volume of container cargo traveling to and from the Port of Charleston via intermodal rail, which has increased 180 percent increase since 2011. Today, nearly 25 percent of the Port’s container volume moves by rail.
“CSX is pleased to be a key link in extending the South Carolina Port Authority’s reach from the Port of Charleston to the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina through establishment of Inland Port Dillon,” said Dean Piacente, CSX Vice President of Intermodal. “We are confident that the Inland Port will promote economic development in the region and increase the competitiveness of the Port of Charleston and businesses throughout the State of South Carolina. CSX is proud of our role working together with the Port in converting the movement of containers from highway to rail, reducing highway congestion and providing environmental benefits to the citizens of South Carolina while promoting economic growth and commerce.”
SCPA opened its first inland facility, Inland Port Greer, in the Upstate region of South Carolina in November 2013. Inland Port Greer handled a record-breaking 124,817 rail moves in calendar year 2017, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year.
“The expansion of SCPA’s footprint into Dillon is a significant project not just for our Port, but the entire state,” said SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern. “Inland Port Dillon will provide many advantages to Port customers in the Pee Dee region and beyond, enabling them to move their supplies and finished products with greater efficiency to a global consumer base. It will no doubt serve as a catalyst for economic development, and it is an exciting day to bring such opportunities to this area.”
Inland Port Dillon is located within the Carolinas I-95 Mega Site with close proximity to I-95, a critical transportation artery in the Southeast. The area is central to a significant base of existing Port users, including Harbor Freight Tools, that represent base cargo opportunities for the facility.
“Inland Port Dillon is a complement to the capacity and infrastructure investments underway at port facilities in Charleston to accommodate bigger ships and overall growth of our volumes,” Newsome said.
Elected Leaders Praise Inland Port Dillon
“Inland Port Dillon is a game-changing investment that will shape the future of not only the Pee Dee but all of South Carolina,” said S.C. Senator Lindsey Graham. “Building on the success of Inland Port Greer, this facility will give companies an efficient and cost-effective way to move their products across the state, making the Pee Dee an attractive location for investment, economic development and job creation.”
“I’ve worked hard at the federal level and with the Ports Authority to bring Inland Port Dillon to fruition,” said S.C. Congressman Tom Rice. “As an extension of the Charleston Port – one of the largest economic drivers in South Carolina – Inland Port Dillon will bring the success of the state’s freight industry to the Pee Dee. Inland Port Dillon will be an economic engine for the region, attracting diverse new industry that will create high-paying jobs in Marion, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties. The facility has already created 1,000 jobs in our area, and today’s grand opening begins the next stage of economic development that will help uplift our entire community.”
“The opportunity for job creation and economic growth driven by this facility in our region cannot be overstated,” said S.C. Senator Kent Williams. “This grand opening is an extremely significant day for residents of Dillon, Marion and our surrounding areas. I applaud the Ports Authority and the many partners for making this a reality.”
“Today’s Inland Port Dillon grand opening is a tremendous development for our region and state,” said S.C. Representative Jackie E. “Coach” Hayes. “Providing increased inland infrastructure will create industry growth and provide job opportunities that will benefit our area and the entire state.”
Local Students Name Inland Port Dillon Cranes
Two fourth-graders at Latta Elementary School each earned $500 from SCPA for their school for their participation in a port contest to name equipment at Inland Port Dillon.
The contest was open to all third through fifth graders in Dillon School Districts 3 and 4 during the month of March. Over 100 student entries were received as potential names for the terminal’s two rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, which move containers on and off trains.
A team of SCPA employees selected the following two entries, which have been painted onto the cranes: Bluesaurus Rex, submitted by Emily Baxley, and Incraneable Hulk, submitted by J.P. Bley.
As previously announced, South Carolina Ports Authority completed the third quarter of its fiscal year with 1.4 percent year-over-year growth of twenty foot-equivalent units (TEUs) and record-breaking March volumes.
March was the strongest month in the Port’s history, with 199,659 TEUs handled during the month. Fiscal year to date, SCPA has moved 1.6 million TEUs across its docks.
Finished vehicle volume also reached an all-time high in March, with 28,391 vehicles handled last month. In the overall non-containerized business segment, SCPA has handled 556,901 breakbulk tons since the fiscal year began.
Inland Port Greer achieved a fiscal year-to-date record number of rail lifts, with 87,360 moves since July. The facility handled 10,612 rail lifts last month.About South Carolina Ports Authority
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 187,200 statewide jobs and generate nearly $53 billion annual economic activity. SCPA is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet, and the Port is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. For more information on SCPA, please visit www.scspa.com.
Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
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By Betsy Finklea
The grand opening of Inland Port Dillon was held on Monday, April 16th with the opportunity and promise that this brings Dillon County highlighting the ceremony.
Jim Newsome, President and CEO of the S.C. Ports Authority, asked who in their wildest dreams could have imagined this five years ago.
Dillon County Council Chairman Stevie Grice said he was “super-excited” about the grand opening of the port. He thanked several who made the port possible. He then gave the invocation and asked Dillon High School student Jacorie McCall to give the Pledge of Allegiance.
Newsome offered remarks and called this a “momentous day.” He talked about the good people who work for the port including Michael Elmore, who will head Inland Port Dillon. Newsome presented J.P. Bley and Emily Baxley, students at Latta Elementary School, with plaques for naming the cranes. Bley named one crane “Incraneable Hulk.” Baxley named one crane “Bluesaurus Rex.”
Dillon County Administrator Rodney Berry said they were embarking on a tremendous journey and thanked several people who contributed to bringing the port.
Rep. Jackie Hayes said we won a state championship today with the grand opening of the inland port. He spoke about the opportunity and challenges and the leadership and working together. He said the port will create jobs that will make young people come back to Dillon.
Kellen Riley, Manager of Industrial Development for CSX, said that this was a very exciting day for Dillon County and the state of South Carolina. He said this was just the tip of the iceberg. He said numerous industrial customers are contacting them now on how Dillon can support their business. He offered his congratulations.
The anchor tenant of the Inland Port is Harbor Freight Tools. Robby Roberson, Vice-President, East Coast Distribution Ops for Harbor Freight Tools, encouraged those in attendance to keep turning the wheels of industry.
Senator Kent Williams said this was about investment and the return on the investment for businesses as a result of these efforts. He said this will have a great effect on the quality of life and in creating jobs for the people of this area. He also spoke about teamwork and said this was a move in the right direction for this community.
Senator Hugh Leatherman said that Inland Port Dillon will open the Pee Dee Region up to the rest of the world. He said this was the “Gateway To the World.” He said this will not be the end.
Congressman Tom Rice said he didn’t think that people realize how huge this facility is going to be to the area and what it will do to transform the area.
Governor Henry McMaster said this is the beginning of big things and this is what success looks like.
Newsome then called on Michael Elmore who conducted a countdown and then the two cranes cut the ribbon. This ceremony will be available for viewing on The Dillon Herald’s channel on YouTube.