New, existing customers take advantage of inland terminal
The Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) has been a success story for both Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and Murray County throughout the pandemic. For the past year, new and existing customers have been rerouting cargo through the ARP to take advantage of its greater efficiencies.
The ARP provides an alternative to an all-truck dray to and from the Port of Savannah for target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. Each round-trip container offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways. The ARP is part of a broader plan to establish inland rail yards across the state, reducing the need for long-haul trucking. These more fuel-efficient options help to decrease energy consumption and lower the environmental footprint of the logistics industry in Georgia.
Throughout 2020 and into this year (through March) GPA’s Northwest Georgia rail yard has not experienced a down month. In Calendar Year 2020, the ARP handled 32,816 containers, an increase of nearly 14,000 boxes, or 73 percent, compared to 2019.
In March, intermodal lifts at the ARP increased 37.7 percent for the month, up by 761 containers compared to March 2020, for a total of 2,782 containers.
The ARP’s success comes as many companies look to establish operations farther inland, but still maintain the unmatched connectivity and reliability of Georgia’s deepwater ports. Additional capacity of freight has led to six-day rail service. A 300-foot extension of the ARP’s storage track is also under construction, increasing GPA’s capability while still offering on terminal free time to customers.
As more customers learn the value the ARP brings to their operations, the facility continues to build momentum GPA forecasts continued business growth in Northwest Georgia. In response to the increased business, the Authority has added six new container storage bays at the ARP, totaling 390 twenty-foot equivalent container unit slots. The added bays increase annual capacity by 25,000 TEUs.
Economic development spurred by the ARP includes GE Appliances’ new $32 million logistics center and Huali Floors new $27 million manufacturing center in Murray County.
“Typically, ports and railways respond to markets, versus creating them,” said Eli Falls, president and CEO of the Murray County Industrial Development Authority. “While certain sectors of the economy did slow during 2020, others certainly surged in growth as the market responded to the pandemic. The GPA, in having capacity and strategic locations such as the ARP, was able to successfully respond to those changing market demands.”