Business, Freight News, Rail, Sea

Memphis, Savannah on parallel tracks

[ November 20, 2020   //   ]

Georgia Ports Authority Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron recently briefed the Memphis World Trade Club on Savannah’s expanding rail service to Memphis. At that event, he explained how the
Port of Savannah’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal will be the largest on-dock intermodal rail facility for a port in North America, increasing the number of working tracks at Garden City Terminal from eight to 18 by next summer. By doubling the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 2 million twenty-foot equivalent container units per year, the Mega Rail project will improve the capacity and fluidity of cargo movements to and from Memphis.

With Phase I of the Mason Mega Rail Terminal operational, Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern are able to make cargo available for pickup in Memphis within three days of being offloaded from a vessel. As a major intermodal center, Memphis is a key market for expansion of Savannah’s rail service. In FY2020, Memphis customers accounted for 177,750 TEUs of rail cargo for the Port of Savannah, making it GPA’s second busiest inland destination after Atlanta. Major Memphis exports crossing GPA docks include cotton, logs, chemicals and machinery, while major imports include auto parts, electronics, furniture and apparel.

“The Memphis World Trade Club is proud to host GPA at our November virtual luncheon to hear their latest infrastructure developments that support the global trade flows between Memphis and the rest of the world,” said Memphis World Trade Club President David Underwood. “Up to 42 percent of the intermodal exports going through the Savannah gateway originate from the Memphis region and fluid transportation networks between both regions is critical to the economic success of Memphis.”

The Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal, the fastest growing port in the U.S. over the past 10 years, allows direct rail service to major Southeast and Midwestern markets, including Memphis. During the first five months of 2020, the Port of Savannah exported more loaded containers than any other port in the country, achieving a 12.2 percent market share. Savannah is poised to rapidly increase service to a Mid-American Arc of cities, ranging from Atlanta to Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago and the Ohio Valley with the completion of the Mason Mega Rail Terminal.

“At the Port of Savannah, we are working to improve U.S. supply chain efficiency by expanding our capacity and honing our terminal services to move goods to market even faster,” Pyron said. “These efforts are strengthening our logistics network at a time when the nation needs it most.”

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