The Georgia Ports Authority broke ground on its US$ 126.7 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal project for Port of Savannah, the fourth busiest port in the US, on March 26, 2018.
An aim of the development is to increase the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year, and open new markets spanning an arc of cities from Memphis to St. Louis, Chicago to Cincinnati.
In the first half of 2018, work will focus on constructing a pair of rail bridges that will carry seven tracks connecting two existing intermodal container transfer facilities.
GPA officials estimate the new terminal will begin coming online by the fall of 2019, with project completion in the fall of 2020.
A US Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant administered by the Maritime Administration will mean that the Mega Rail expansion fund will benefit from $44 million.
To serve the expanded rail yard, the GPA is also ordering eight rail-mounted gantry cranes.
The RMGs will each span nine tracks for improved efficiency moving containers from trains to on-terminal jockey trucks.
Lynch said the growing rail infrastructure complements Savannah’s role as a gateway port for container trade.
The Mega Rail groundbreaking is the latest in a series of Gov. Deal’s signature projects designed to make Georgia the transportation and logistics hub of North America – which include the recent announcement of 50% completion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, a new inland terminal in Northwest Georgia, and a $10 billion state-wide transportation improvement plan.
Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch, said: “The Mason Mega Rail project will expand rail capacity by 100% while reducing impact on the local community and throughout the supply chain.”
When complete, Garden City Terminal will have a total of 180,000 feet of rail, 18 working tracks and the capability of building 10,000-foot unit trains on terminal.
Learn more about Garden City Terminal in Savannah Port by reading the 'Garden City Terminal: A Single-Terminal Port for Today’s Market' technical paper by Ed McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer, Georgia Ports Authority, Savannah, US Georgia Ports Authority
This will allow GPA to bring all rail switching onto the terminal, avoiding the use of nearly two dozen rail crossings — including those on Ga. Highways 21 and 25 — for improved vehicle traffic flow.
GPA estimates that the new intermodal terminal will take more than 200,000 trucks off the road annually.
GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood commented: “This project is a game changer.
“Our team estimates the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will slash rail time to the Midwest by a good 24 hours, and present a viable new option for many manufacturers, shippers and logistics professionals.”
Allgood said unit trains make direct routes to distant markets more profitable for the railroads, which is a major factor in how the new capabilities of the Mason Mega Rail terminal will improve Savannah’s reach.
Lynch added: “The Port of Savannah has the cargo capacity to quickly load unit trains for expedited service to inland population centers.
“Over the past year alone, our average container moves per vessel has increased by 15%, and exchanges of 5,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units are now common.”