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Palmetto Railways recently completed a $3.2 million infrastructure improvement project at the Port of Charleston's Columbus Street Terminal to accommodate a BMW plant expansion in Greer, S.C.BMW is planning a $1 billion plant expansion to increase annual production from 350,000 to 450,000 vehicles by 2016's end. The German automaker exports about 70 percent of the vehicles produced at the plant through the terminal to about 140 global markets.Palmetto Railways added about 4,300 feet of track at the terminal, increasing track capacity to 14,616 feet. The company also built a bridge over a creek at the north end of the terminal.The infrastructure upgrades will enable Palmetto Railways to handle more rail cars at the terminal."We presently receive and originate an 80- to 100-car unit train for BMW seven days per week," said Palmetto Railways President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff McWhorter in an email.A division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Palmetto Railways operates three railroad subdivisions. The Charleston and North Charleston subdivisions provide switching services to South Carolina State Ports Authority terminals and other various industries, and interchange with CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway. The Charity Church Subdivision serves BP Chemical, Nucor Steel and Santee Cooper Cross Generating Station, and interchanges with CSX.
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