At its July, 2016 board meeting, the Georgia Ports Authority approved a spending package of more than $19 million to construct the Appalachian Regional Port in Chatsworth, Murray County, Georgia.
The funds consist of $10 million from the state of Georgia and $9.7 million from the GPA. In addition, CSX is making off-site improvements to facilitate the new inland port.
Murray County purchased the land at a cost of $700,000 and deeded the site to GPA. For the land purchase, $500,000 came from a state economic development grant and $200,000 from the Murray County Economic Development Authority.
Griff Lynch, Executive Director, said: “The Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) will create a new gateway to the Port of Savannah for our customers serving Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and beyond. We estimate the ARP will offset more than 350 truck miles per container, or close to 18 million miles every year.”
The new inland terminal is the second for the GPA and part of the ‘Network Georgia’ programme designed to create inland terminals throughout the state to reduce intermodal truck traffic and provide greater rail capacity to the Southeast US and beyond.
The inland terminal in Chatsworth will be approximately 16.1ha and be operated using highly efficient rubber-tyred gantry cranes to move cargo to and from CSX trains. GPA expects construction to be complete in late summer, 2018.
Jimmy Allgood, Board Chairman at the GPA, said: “The GPA, the state of Georgia and our partners in the private sector are very focused on rail and road connections to and from our ports.
“Establishing these inland terminals will extend our rail advantage into a multi-state region, ease highway traffic congestion, and prepare Georgia’s ports for a new era of growth.”
Lynch said: “Overall, FY16 container volumes exceeded expectations due to inflated market share associated with last year’s West Coast cargo diversions.
“When our new customers experienced the seamless connection between Georgia’s ports, rail and roads, they decided to grow their business here.
“This coming year we will be focused on increasing our capacity, expanding our reach into new markets and providing superior supply chain solutions for our customers.”
GPA estimates that 24% of the approximately 320,000 TEU diverted to the Port of Savannah over Fiscal Year 2015, or more than 75,000 TEU, was retained by the authority.
Allgood concluded: “Thousands of manufacturing and logistics companies are already capitalising on the competitive advantages offered by the ports of Savannah and Brunswick. As our retention of the diverted cargo shows, potential customers continue to choose Georgia when they learn of the savings in time and money that we provide.”