From Griff Lynch: Savannah offering efficient new rail options


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As many of you are already aware, Georgia’s ports recently broke ground on the new Mason Mega Rail project. When this facility begins to come on-line in 18 short months, it will be the largest on-port rail terminal in North America. What we hope that will mean for many of you is a new supply chain option directly to America’s Midwest.

The Mason Mega Rail, specifically designed to efficiently handle 10,000-foot unit trains by both major rail carriers, will have 18 working tracks, a lift capacity of 1 million containers per year and nearly 180,000 feet of track.

Shippers in major markets from Memphis to St. Louis and Chicago to Cincinnati will experience greater efficiencies and reduced transit times to and from Savannah’s growing intermodal hub. In many instances, cargo will avoid rail hub layovers, pick up a full day, and in turn open new markets and opportunities for shippers.

Just as we are extending our reach into the Midwest, we are also improving our service to the Southeast.

This August, the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) will open for business. For target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, the ARP will provide an alternative to all-truck transit to and from the Port of Savannah. The new facility will lower transportation costs and speed up container returns, as boxes are sourced closer to the customer.

The ARP will also offer superior flexibility. Where typical rail operations offer only 48 hours of free time after a container’s arrival, the ARP will provide an extended five days for loaded containers and seven days for empties. This not only helps production and transportation scheduling for importers, it also means better access to empty containers for the region’s exporters.

Providing import, export and domestic intermodal service, the inland railyard’s location in Murray County, Ga., features immediate chassis availability, competitive pricing booked through the ocean carriers, and easy access to Interstate 75 and U.S. 411. The facility will handle up to 50,000 containers per year – with each round-trip move offsetting 710 truck miles on Georgia highways.

The ARP is part of a broader inland port initiative developed by John Trent, GPA’s Senior Director of Strategic Operations and Safety, and his team which is aimed at extending our gates to every corner of Georgia to serve a six-state region.

Both the Mason Mega Rail Terminal and the ARP couldn’t be coming at a better time. Savannah saw a 14 percent increase in TEU container volume for March (up 9 percent for FYTD18, July -March) and 17 consecutive months of growth.

With excellent progress on the Savannah Harbor deepening, terminal expansion underway, new, expanded truck routes, and better intermodal access, Georgia is committed to meeting your growing needs today, tomorrow and in the future. We look forward to working with you as we move closer to completing these important new projects.