Port of South Carolina Doubles Capacity – What This Means for the Supply Chain > GSA Business

Ports and elected officials celebrate Friday's announcement of Inland Port Greer expansion.  (Photo/Krys Merryman)The SC Ports Authority, along with elected leaders and community partners, celebrated an expansion of the state’s rail system with a ceremony on Friday. They also announced the next phase of expansion, which will double cargo capacity at inland Port Greer.

One of the eight largest inland ports in the country, Inland Port Greer is a rail-bound inland port facility in Upstate. Owned and operated by SC Ports, the port extends the Port of Charleston’s reach by 212 miles, bringing the goods that much closer to other parts of the country.

Inland Port Greer’s ongoing expansion supports the supply chains of port-dependent companies and drives economic growth in the Upstate, according to the SCPA.

“After nine years of operations, we are excited to expand freight and rail capacity at Inland Port Greer to better serve our customers’ supply chains,” said Barbara Melvin, President and CEO of SC Ports. “We are proud to play a role in helping upstate companies thrive. Inland Port Greer’s growth has really been on the fast track.”

Inland Port Greer opened in 2013 with BMW Manufacturing Co. as the launch customer. The port quickly exceeded original capacity estimates, according to a press release from SCPA. In fiscal 2022, Inland Port Greer handled more than 150,000 rail lifts – meaning 150,000 containers entered or exited Norfolk Southern trains, the press release said.

“The busy logistics center now moves freight for numerous companies including BMW, Michelin, Adidas, Eastman, First Solar, TTI Floorcare and Visual Comfort & Co.”, the press release reads.

Operating 24 hours a day, Inland Port Greer runs much like a container terminal, with operators transporting containers onto and off trains instead of ships.

“Before this facility opened, a truck driver could drive to Charleston and back in a day,” said Will Angelich, Inland Port Greer terminal manager. “Now the same truck driver can come here five to ten times a day to load and unload containers. Inland Port Greer provides efficiency and reliability for corporate supply chains. I am very proud of our team of 60+ people for their dedication to keeping the supply chain running.”

Steady growth in port customers has fueled Inland Port Greer’s expansion, while global supply chain challenges fueled the need for more capacity, the press release said.

In the first expansion stage, an additional track processing track and two storage tracks were built within the terminal. The addition of 8,000 feet of new rails will meet freight needs through 2040, according to the press release. The expansions have been in the works for more than a year, and the track upgrade is complete, Melvin said.

“We continue to invest in key port infrastructure across the state to provide our customers with greater connectivity, capacity and fluidity,” said Melvin. “Our infrastructure investments help upstate businesses thrive, which fuels new jobs and opportunities in the region.”

The next phase of expansion includes expanding the container warehouse 15 acres east and west to handle 50% more cargo.

The expansion also includes doubling the capacity of the existing chassis warehouse and building new facilities for heavy load maintenance and terminal operations. The overall project is scheduled for completion in winter 2024 or early 2025.

“We’re chugging straight ahead,” Melvin said. “South Carolina Ports is proud to serve the City of Greer. This city has worked with us every step of the way in the development and expansion of the inland port.”

The more than $30 million expansion will be funded by proceeds from SC Ports and a portion of a $25 million grant to improve leverage development investments. The grant was awarded to the SC Department of Transportation for its Upstate Express Corridor Program, according to the press release.

With the support of the SC Legislature, SC Ports is also building the Navy Base Intermodal Facility in North Charleston. This rail-bound freight yard will move more freight to and from Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon, moving goods efficiently across the state.

The Navy Base Intermodal Facility will be served by Norfolk Southern, CSX and Palmetto Railways when it opens in July 2025. The modern freight terminal will be located one mile from the Leatherman Terminal to ensure speed to market for port dependent companies throughout the Southeast. said the publication.

Greer Mayor Rick Danner said there is no shortage of theories about the secret combination to a city’s success.

“Some experts argue that geography is more important than ever and the city’s success depends on physical capital and authentic design,” Danner said. “While others would submit, cities need to build human capital and creative talent. Some would insist that social capital and economic opportunity are ultimately the soul of the city. Each of these theories alone is wrong. A successful city must have all of these elements.”

Melvin said it is crucial to continue investing in ports’ infrastructure to remain competitive.

“While we are expanding inland capacity with Inland Port Greer, we are also expanding inland capacity with the new Navy base,” added Melvin.

The SC Legislature along with Gov. Henry McMaster also fueled the project with a $400 million investment, Melvin said.

“This investment in Charleston will support the state of Upstate as we move more freight by rail,” she said.

More than half of the state’s port economic impact is already occurring in Upstate.

The timely projects will only strengthen the state’s supply chains and bring continued success to the state, Melvin said.

“We are grateful to our leadership for understanding what it takes for South Carolina to thrive,” she added.

After three decades of service to the SC Department of Transportation, Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said infrastructure today means so much more than roads and bridges.

“I know it takes partnerships to be successful,” Hall said. “We look forward to continuing this partnership (with SC Ports) whatever the requirements to drive these infrastructure investments across our state to keep us at this forefront.”

SC Lt. gov. Pamela Evette said the ports are essential to the state’s success because they attract businesses to the state by allowing them to get their goods out quickly.

“And to have the only port of this size run by a woman is amazing for South Carolina,” she added. “The governor and I are committed to growing South Carolina, continuing to grow our ports, and what you see here is just the team that can make that happen.”

Congressman William Timmons, US Representative for South Carolina’s 4thth Congressional District, said the state and its growth are prospering because of the leadership in place. For decades, SC leadership has ensured competitiveness in the global economy, he said.

“We have tens of thousands of people moving here from all over the country,” Timmons said. “That’s because it’s a wonderful place to start a business, raise a family, and our environment is incredible, and that’s no coincidence.”

The port is a crucial component of that competitiveness, he added.

Reach Krys at 864-640-4418.