Freight News, Rail, Sea

GPA Announces Rail Initiative and DC

[ September 29, 2016   //   ]

Georgia Ports Authority has a new strategic initiative that officials there see as a game changer. It involves rail and is dubbed “GPA’s Mid-American Arc.”

The rail initiative was detailed by GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch during the annual Savannah State of the Port address that included Floor & Decor’s announcement of Phase 1 of a 1.4 million sq. ft. distribution center complex.

GPA’s Mid-American Arc will focus on the growth of intermodal rail, extending the Port of Savannah’s reach to capture new markets across the Southeast and Midwestern U.S. “This enhancement of our rail capacity is a game-changer in the market to serve cities ranging in an arc from Atlanta to Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago and the Ohio Valley,” Lynch said. “Additional track will allow us to build unit trains, 10,000 feet long, completely on terminal, while reducing rail crossings and impact on the local community.”

Included in the plan is a $128 million project that will link Garden City Terminal’s two rail yards, improve efficiency and grow the terminal’s rail lift capacity to approximately 1 million containers each year. The project is funded in part by a $44 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Also at the State of the Port, Lynch announced that flooring retailer Floor & Decor will open a 1.4 million square-foot distribution center in the Savannah market. The build-to-suit distribution facility will open by 2018 and be located on 90 acres about 10 miles from the Port of Savannah. Construction is slated to begin in November 2016. The new center will add and retain115 jobs. A second phase will add another 1.1 million square feet, for a total of 2.5 million square feet.

“This is a tremendous vote of confidence in the Georgia Ports Authority and the future of the fast-growing market of the U.S. Southeast,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “It comes on the heels of a year in which millions of square feet of industrial and warehouse space were opened or announced across Georgia, accounting for more than 3,800 port-related jobs, and half a billion dollars in investment.”

“We are excited to expand our distribution footprint in Savannah. We looked at other East Coast opportunities, but the combination of the Georgia Port Authority, SEDA and the local logistics and distribution services could not be better for Floor & Decor than here in Savannah,” said Floor & Decor’s Executive Vice President Supply Chain Brian Robbins. “It’s just a great place to do business, especially when you look at the future investment being put into Savannah’s port and distribution business.”