Gov. Nathan Deal, state officials and more than 350 business and civic leaders were on hand to officially open the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) in Northwest Georgia.
"The Appalachian Regional Port is a powerful new gateway to the Port of Savannah that extends the efficiencies of Georgia's superior port operations to new markets," Deal said. "It will also serve as an economic development magnet, drawing business and industry to the Southeast U.S."
Located in Murray County, the new state-of-the-art facility will provide logistics solutions for customers in a four-state region and remove an estimated 50,000 trucks and 15 million truck miles from local highways every year.
"The ARP is part of our Network Georgia initiative that brings services from the coast to communities around the state," said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. "The new inland terminal will provide the same, superior quality services our customers have come to rely on: congestion-free, easy access, expedited handling and reliability."
Through intermodal rail service from CSX, the Appalachian Regional Port offers customers across North Georgia, Northeast Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky a more efficient option to move cargo to and from Savannah's container port.
GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood said building additional logistics assets helps fulfill the Authority's overall mission.
"Our job at Georgia's ports is very simple - to build, operate and maintain the very best infrastructure and services in the maritime industry. And, the ARP will be another example of this commitment," Allgood said. "We appreciate the governor's support for the ARP and other projects that have helped to make our ports what they are today. Gov. Deal knows what it takes to make Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation to do business."
Handling both import and export containers, CSX will provide service on a direct, 388-mile rail route to and from the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal.
"CSX is proud to serve regional customers through the ARP, which will unlock new economic opportunities while lowering shipping costs," said Dean Piacente, vice president of CSX intermodal sales and marketing. "We applaud the vision and leadership of Governor Deal and the Georgia Ports Authority, as they drive Georgia forward in ways that will benefit both businesses and consumers."
The new rail terminal will be worked by three electric rubber-tired gantry cranes. Each has a lift capacity greater than 40 tons and, working together, can handle 100,000 container lifts per year.
Murray County is a Tier 1 area, meaning special incentives are available to job creators who locate there. More direct and economical access to the second busiest port on the East Coast will make Murray County more attractive to those involved in site selection.
"The Appalachian Regional Port is a great example of how the GPA is investing in rural Georgia, and not forgetting how that can play into the growing economic strength of the state," Deal said.
Illya Copeland, executive director of the Murray County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), said the area offers prime locations for manufacturing and logistics development near the inland port. "Murray County features 16 sites offering more than 1,500 acres of developable land, most of which can support multiple developments," Copeland said. "Of the 1,500 acres, 258 acres are rail-front property."
He said the IDA bought a 382-acre tract in January, and is closing on two port-related projects in the park already.
Other benefits of the Appalachian Regional Port include:
- Sits on 42 acres adjacent to U.S. 411 and features easy access to Interstate 75.
- Will serve as a close, convenient and cost-effective source of empty containers for manufacturers across the region, offering significant savings on repositioning equipment for exports.
- Offers generous container storage terms: five days free storage for loaded containers; 10-day free storage for empties.
- Each round-trip container moved via the ARP offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways.
What customers are saying:
Director of Transportation and Logistics
We plan on using it as a cost-savings initiative for Mohawk. Instead of trucking from Savannah to North Georgia, we'll pick up the containers in Chatsworth at the ARP, and truck it from there to our locations. We're going to use it as much as we can. It's a significant cost savings for us.
Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods
Chief Financial Officer
With the Appalachian Regional Port, we will be able to source the empty containers. Also, it's the same distance from us by truck, but it is closer to the Port of Savannah than Nashville. Cutting that much rail off and keeping the same drayage, we see it as a win. We see it as an opportunity to move as much as we can through the Appalachian Regional Port.
The Atlas Group
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
We're excited it's coming to the community. I think it will shorten the time it takes to get the container in the door, open it up and start selling it.
Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.