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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last week announced CSX plans build the Carolina Connector (CCX) intermodal terminal in Rocky Mount. The Class I previously had planned to construct a terminal in another part of the state. Initially, the CCX is expected to process more than 260,000 containers per year. CSX plans to provide $160 million for the more than $200 million terminal. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will contribute $100 million for track improvements and terminal infrastructure through the state’s new transportation funding formula. The CCX is expected to open in 2020, with related track improvements projected to take two years to complete after all necessary environmental permits are obtained. Carolinas Gateway Partnership, a local economic development organization, controls nearly all of the land needed for the facility, which is located along CSX’s mainline in a primarily industrial area.The CCX will provide cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly connections for North Carolina’s businesses and ports to domestic and international markets, said CSX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward in a press release.“Rocky Mount’s vision for economic development, strategic location on the CSX network, and our existing rail operations and long-standing community ties make it an ideal choice for the Carolina Connector,” he said.The terminal will be in close proximity to CSX’s main north-south line, Interstate 95, and future I-87 and I-42 corridors, according to state officials. “This historic project is part of our 25-year vision for transportation because it facilitates efficient and cost-effective movement of goods, which is critical for job creation and economic growth,” said McCrory. “The Carolina Connector will be a game-changer for our state’s economy, supporting North Carolina’s agriculture, ports and position as the Southeast’s No. 1 state for manufacturing jobs.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) recently approved a $19.7 million spending package to construct the Appalachian Regional Port in Chatsworth that will be served by CSX. The Class I will complete off-site improvements to facilitate the new 40-acre inland port.
GPA expects construction to be completed in late summer 2018 on the facility, which will feature rubber-tired gantry cranes to move cargo to and from CSX trains.
"The Appalachian Regional Port will create a new gateway to the Port of Savannah for our customers serving Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and beyond," said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch in a press release. We estimate the port will offset more than 350 truck miles per container, or close to 18 million miles every year."
To become the GPA's second inland port, the facility will be part of the "Network Georgia" program that's designed to create inland terminals throughout the state to reduce intermodal truck traffic and provide greater rail capacity to the Southeast U.S. and beyond.
"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," said GPA Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "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."