GPA, CSX offer new ‘Carolina Connector’ service


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Direct, daily Savannah-Rocky Mount, North Carolina rail route delivers faster speed, flexibility.


SAVANNAH, GEORGIA – September 7, 2023 – North Carolina importers and exporters can now tap into a faster supply chain through a direct rail connection between the Port of Savannah and Rocky Mount, North Carolina via the CSX Carolina Connector (CCX) Intermodal terminal.

“This is an exciting logistics solution for existing and new customers across North Carolina,” said Georgia Ports Authority President and CEO Griff Lynch. “In collaboration with CSX, we’re offering daily access and faster service, bringing world-class port services to the doorstep of the area’s business and industry.”

The Georgia Ports Authority and CSX have teamed to provide 7-day-a-week rail departures between GPA’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal in Savannah and the Eastern North Carolina location, offering customers three-day ship-to-shore transit time.

“CSX is proud to be a part of this transformative partnership, which embodies our commitment to foster growth, connect markets and propel economic progress for the region,” said Kevin Boone, CSX Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The integration of GPA’s On-Dock Rail and the Inland Port at CCX signifies a leap forward in providing efficient, sustainable, and dynamic rail-to-truck inland port container service for our customers. Through this strategic collaboration with the Georgia Ports Authority and our ongoing partnership with the State of North Carolina and North Carolina Ports, CSX is charting a new course in logistics excellence.”

Faster Service

CCX is located on an efficient, high-speed, high-capacity mainline rail route. Cargo departing the Port of Savannah is available to customers on the third day after leaving Garden City Terminal.

“Customers can get access to cargo more quickly on the Carolina Connector service, because Savannah is a first port of call for ocean carriers transiting the Panama Canal,” added Lynch. “Containers are ready for pick-up at CCX before they can even be unloaded from a vessel at other ports further up the coast.”

On-dock rail service expedites container handling. GPA’s Mason Mega Rail features 85 acres and 24 miles of on-terminal track, making it the largest intermodal facility on a port in the Americas with capacity to grow future cargo volumes. 

Broader Reach, Better Efficiency

As one of the fastest growing ports in the U.S. with 37 weekly services, the Port of Savannah offers more containership calls linking more world markets than any other port in the mid-Atlantic or U.S. Southeast. Savannah is one of the highest ranked, most-connected ports in the U.S. ideally connecting North Carolina supply chains to world markets.

“For customers, Savannah’s superior connectivity means more options on sourcing and routing goods, and, for exporters, better access to global markets to sell their products,” said GPA Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron.

Major North Carolina exports include agricultural goods such as cotton and forest products. For farms in Western North Carolina, CCX offers a shorter drive than routes to mid-Atlantic ports, reducing trucking costs, emissions and highway traffic congestion.

Additionally, rail service from Savannah to the region reduces carbon emissions by 78 percent compared to an all-truck haul.

“The region’s import-export cargo mix adds to the efficiency of the service, because containers can be loaded with goods going both directions,” said Maryclare Kenney, CSX Vice President of Intermodal and Auto. “Major importers include furniture sellers and big box retailers.”


Ample space at CCX, combined with longer-term storage options at the Port of Savannah’s new Garden City Terminal West yard will afford exporters greater scheduling flexibility.

“The GCT West yard allows importers to store retail goods or manufacturing components until they are needed, without the need to pay demurrage,” said GPA Vice President of Sales and Marketing Flavio Batista. “Similarly, exporters will be able to pre-stage their cargo on-terminal to await vessel loading.”

In Rocky Mount, CSX customers that have gate access via QR code can pick up or drop off containers on chassis seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight. CSX customers that need a container lifted on or off a chassis will have access 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


CCX provides convenient, easy access to I-95 and features three wide-span, zero-emission electric cranes with a lift capacity of 110,000 containers per year. In addition to its remotely-operated electric cranes, CCX maximizes safe and efficient truck movement through the facility with CSX’s X-Gate technology, which automates the in-gate process, streamlines traffic flows and automatically inspects loads leaving the facility.

The new, state-of-the-art facility is built with security in mind, featuring berms, fences and cameras to ensure cargo security.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 561,000 jobs throughout the state annually, and contribute $33 billion in income, $140 billion in revenue and $3.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. CNBC ranked Georgia #1 in the U.S. for infrastructure in America’s Top States for Business in 2023.  The Port of Savannah is grateful and fortunate to have one of the most extensive, industry-leading supply chain ecosystems surrounding the port that serve the logistics needs of thousands of customers and ensure long-term competitiveness and business resiliency.

For more information, visit or contact Tom Boyd at [email protected] or call (912) 964-3884.