Inland Port Dillon sees growth, expects spike in containers over holiday season

Pee Dee

DILLON AREA, S.C. (WBTW) — Inland Port Dillon is seeing growth lately compared to last year despite the ongoing pandemic.

The inland port opened in April 2018 and generates billions of dollars in annual impact. A wide range of commodities pass through the port- including furniture, machine parts and agricultural products.

Terminal Manager Michael Elmore said the port sees somewhere around 15 percent more containers in the holiday season.

“We generally see a… spike during the holidays and that’s actually when we move most of our cargo,” he said. “With a lot of people being home. A lot of people having a lot of gatherings. Privately. The agricultural industry increases.”

The port saw a 27 percent year-over-year increase in rail moves in September. Inland Port Dillon had its best month ever in August with 3,527 rail moves. Officials have said they’re encouraged as port numbers rebound and in some cases go beyond pre-pandemic levels.

“What’s causing that is the efficiency,” Elmore said. “This is a model where they can get into this gateway so that they can get into this international market without going through a lot of curves.”

Elmore added the port is able to fill some gaps caused by a nationwide shortage of truckers.

“We’re seeing some great growth and we see more to come,” Director of National Accounts for South Carolina Ports Authority Byron Miller said. “The Inland Port Dillon has continued to go in an upward path. We’re ahead where we were last year.”

Although not something Elmore says will have a significant impact on Inland Port Dillon (at least for now) because of the types of products it exchanges, experts expect a huge holiday season for online retail and shipping.

One estimate predicts online holiday sales will be up 33 percent.

“I think our entire transportation infrastructure in South Carolina is going to be busy for the next 60 days,” Miller said. “I’ve already told my daughters that if you hope to order something online through Amazon or one of these various online arteries you better get your order in now because FedEx, UPS all the small package express, they’re going to be jammed all the way through Christmas.”

“It’s going to be a very busy holiday shopping season,” Miller added.

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