Georgia Ports Authority approves $92 million in funding for more intermodal rail capacity

Additional on-terminal intermodal facility comes as U.S. Southeast container volumes show strong growth.

The Georgia Ports Authority approved a measure that will double its intermodal rail capacity as the port continues to see strong growth in container volumes.

The GPA approved $92 million in funding for the Mason Mega Rail Terminal. The new terminal will bring the Port of Savannah’s intermodal rail capacity to 1 million containers annually.

The terminal is expected to be in-service by 2020. The site will include 124,000 feet of new track, 88 automated switches and rail control devices.

Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) and CSX (Nasdaq: CSX) offer on-terminal intermodal rail service at Savannah

The Mason Mega Rail Terminal will better accommodate 10,000 foot long unit trains at the Garden City Terminal, the main container terminal for the Port of Savannah. GPA says the more cost-effective trains will extend the reach of container shipments through Savannah along “an arc of cities ranging from Memphis to St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati.”

The Port of Savannah moved 375,833 twenty foot equivalent (teu) in containers during August, an 8% jump over the same time last year. Intermodal volumes of 86,200 teus for the month was a 33% increase over last year.

“It is no accident the GPA is constructing rail capacity as the demand for rail is growing,” said GPA Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “As part of our strategic planning two years ago, our team identified the growing role intermodal cargo would play in GPA’s long-term success and put into place this plan for expansion.”

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.