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Rail News: Intermodal

South Carolina port continues to drive up intermodal rail volume

The Port of Charleston, S.C., has increased intermodal rail volume by 50 percent since 2011, in part due to significant contributions in 2012 and 2013.

The port's international intermodal lifts increased 18 percent last year to nearly 145,000 containers after rising 27 percent in 2012. The port is served by CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Efforts to capture discretionary cargo from major points in the Southeast, Gulf, Midwest and Ohio Valley helped drive the gains, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) officials said in a press release. Container growth also is the result of collaboration with ocean carriers to recruit cargo to and from Atlanta; Chicago; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Going forward, a RapidRail drayage program launched in April 2012 and NS-served South Carolina Inland Port in Greer that opened in November 2013 will help drive rail volumes, SCPA officials said. RapidRail coordinates container movements to and from rail yards and currently accounts for 85 percent of rail drays.

A new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility — which is being developed jointly by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Palmetto Railways — also will help boost intermodal capabilities when it opens at the port in 2018, SCPA officials said.

"Charleston offers competitive rail facilities and services, providing our customers an advantage to moving discretionary cargo through our port," said SCPA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome. "We've seen tremendous growth in intermodal rail traffic over the last two years as more ocean carriers utilize our intermodal network to fill their ships with heavy export loads for transit through our natural, deepwater harbor."

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More News from 2/14/2014