Georgia’s ports recently broke ground on the new Mason Mega Rail project. Once on-line it will be the largest on-port rail terminal in North America, creating a new supply chain option directly into the heart of the American Midwest.
The Mason Mega Rail, specifically designed to efficiently handle 10,000-foot unit trains by both major rail carriers, will have 18 working tracks, a lift capacity of 1 million containers per year and nearly 180,000 feet of track.
This means that from Memphis to St. Louis and Chicago to Cincinnati any major markets shipping to and from Savannah’s growing inter-modal hub will experience reduced transit times and greater efficiencies. In many instances, cargo will avoid rail hub layovers, pick up a full day, and in turn open new markets and opportunities for shippers.
But according to GPA’s Executive Director Griffith Lynch, their eye isn’t only on the Midwest. They’re working on improvements to their Southeast services as well.
“This August, the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) will open for business,” Lynch said. “For target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, the ARP will provide an alternative to all-truck transit to and from the Port of Savannah. The new facility will lower transportation costs and speed up container returns, as boxes are sourced closer to the customer.”
The ARP will also offer superior flexibility. Where typical rail operations offer only 48 hours of free time after a container’s arrival, the ARP will provide an extended five days for loaded containers and seven days for empties. This helps production and transportation scheduling for importers as well as access to empty containers for the region’s exporters.
“The inland railyard’s location in Murray County, Ga., features immediate chassis availability, competitive pricing booked through the ocean carriers, and easy access to Interstate 75 and U.S. 411,” said Lynch. “The facility will handle up to 50,000 containers per year – with each round-trip move offsetting 710 truck miles on Georgia highways.”
Both the Mason Mega Rail Terminal and the ARP couldn’t be coming at a better time. Savannah saw a 14 percent increase in TEU container volume for March (up 9 percent for FYTD18, July -March) and 17 consecutive months of growth.
With excellent progress on the Savannah Harbor deepening, terminal expansion underway, new, expanded truck routes, and better intermodal access, there’s certainly a lot to look forward to for Georgia’s Ports.