South Carolina ports officials used two massive container cranes to break a ceremonial ribbon Monday for a new inland facility in Dillon.
The $50 million Inland Port Dillon — what the State Ports Authority is calling a rail cargo transfer terminal — is designed so that trains carrying cargo containers from the Port of Charleston can transfer that freight onto trucks for destinations up Interstate 95 to the northeast.
‘You don’t invest $50 million on a ‘Build It and They Will Come’ strategy,” Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome said at Monday’s ceremony. “We have an inland port because we have freight and we have cargo.”
The terminal’s primary customer will be Harbor Freight Tools, which operates a large distribution center near Dillon. Inland Port Dillon is expected to convert an estimated 45,000 container movements from truck to rail in the first year of operation. The Ports Authority says the volume of container cargo traveling to and from Charleston via intermodal rail has increased 180 percent since 2011.
Dillon is South Carolina’s second inland port. The state opened its first in Greer five years ago.
“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,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in a statement. “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 inland port model is based off Virginia, which uses a similar system to move cargo from the busy Hampton Roads region over the mountains into central and western Virginia for destinations to the west.