Inland Port Dillon celebrates grand opening

Pee Dee

DILLON, SC (WBTW) – Officials say the grand opening of the Inland Port Dillon will boost the Palmetto State’s economy and increase the volume of container cargo traveling to and from the Port of Charleston.

South Carolina Ports Authority held the grand opening of Inland Port Dillon Monday, its second inland facility constructed in the state to handle strong growth of the Port’s intermodal rail cargo volumes and deepen the Port’s reach into markets through the Carolinas to the Northeast and Midwest.

“Inland ports provide needed infrastructure in the interior of the state to support the movement of freight to and from our marine terminals,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “The addition of Inland Port Dillon to the Port’s network diversifies our reach and enables port users to gain logistics efficiencies through rail transportation of their cargo. We’ve had tremendous support from the Dillon region to date and look forward to growing our cargo base for the facility.”

State Representative, Jackie Hayes, said there are 153 acres of land, and the project cost $50 million.

“The Ports Authority spent $41 million in sales, the taxpayers if Dillon County spent $2.3 million in investments, and we’ve also had a lot of people like Marlboro Electric development team also chip in, and the department of commerce,” Hayes told News13.

Hayes said the port will eventually bring roughly 5,000 jobs to Dillon County.

Dillon Resident, Terry Hamilton, said he hopes those jobs will help the youth in the community.

“With this port, I could maybe talk with the younger group, get them to focus on trying to fill out an application now,” said Hamilton. “It’s better and bright opportunities which might make them [the youth] change their mind with things they’re doing. Opportunity is hope so it’s a great thing.”
Hamilton said the opening of the port has been a long-time coming.
“Dillon County, it needs growth,” he said. “We need any part of growth that’s possible.”
Hayes said the biggest impact the Inland Port will have in its beginning stages is industry.
“We’re ranking number one in the Southeast in job development in Dillon County,” Hayes said. “So that creates a huge opportunity for industries to move in and put people to work.”

Inland Port Dillon utilizes an existing CSX intermodal train service to handle container movement to and from the Port of Charleston’s productive seaport facilities. Inland Port Dillon is expected to convert an estimated 45,000 container movements from truck to rail in the first year of operation.

“Our ports system is one of the most important driving forces behind South Carolina’s recent economic success, and with the help of the Inland Port Dillon, it always will be,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “With two inland ports and the Port of Charleston soon to be the deepest on the East Coast, South Carolina has strategic advantages that no other state has, and that will continue to pay off for the people of our great state.”

The facility will handle the growing volume of container cargo traveling to and from the Port of Charleston via intermodal rail, which has increased 180percent increase since 2011. Today, nearly 25 percent of the Port’s container volume moves by rail.

“CSX is pleased to be a key link in extending the South Carolina Port Authority’s reach from the Port of Charleston to the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina through establishment of Inland Port Dillon,” said Dean Piacente, CSX Vice President of Intermodal. “We are confident that the Inland Port will promote economic development in the region and increase the competitiveness of the Port of Charleston and businesses throughout the State of South Carolina. CSX is proud of our role working together with the Port in converting the movement of containers from highway to rail, reducing highway congestion and providing environmental benefits to the citizens of South Carolina while promoting economic growth and commerce.”

SCPA opened its first inland facility, Inland Port Greer, in the Upstate region of South Carolina in November 2013. Inland Port Greer handled a record-breaking 124,817 rail moves in calendar year 2017, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year.

“The expansion of SCPA’s footprint into Dillon is a significant project not just for our Port, but the entire state,” said SCPA Board Chairman Bill Stern. “Inland Port Dillon will provide many advantages to Port customers in the Pee Dee region and beyond, enabling them to move their supplies and finished products with greater efficiency to a global consumer base. It will no doubt serve as a catalyst for economic development, and it is an exciting day to bring such opportunities to this area.”

Inland Port Dillon is located within the Carolinas I-95 Mega Site with close proximity to I-95, a critical transportation artery in the Southeast. The area is central to a significant base of existing Port users, including Harbor Freight Tools, that represent base cargo opportunities for the facility.

“Inland Port Dillon is a complement to the capacity and infrastructure investments underway at port facilities in Charleston to accommodate bigger ships and overall growth of our volumes,” Newsome said.

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