Efforts to expand the supply chain infrastructure supporting the busy Port of Savannah got a boost this week from the federal government.

The Georgia Ports Authority, which manages operations at the Port of Savannah, received a nearly $47 million federal grant to build an inland container port near Gainesville, Georgia. The inland port, which will be located along the I-85/I-985 corridor, will be linked to the Port of Savannah by a direct 324-mile intermodal freight rail service as a part of a wider effort to divert truck traffic to and from the port.

GPA received the grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program, or INFRA. 

“The Northeast Georgia Inland Port will serve the region’s thriving manufacturing and logistics corridor by shifting more containers from truck to rail. Use of inland terminals in such corridors reduces highway traffic, cuts carbon emissions and lowers costs for cargo owners,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch in a Tuesday release.

Partners for this project include Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) and Hall County, Georgia, according to a statement from Rep. Andrew S. Clyde, R-Ga.

“The new inland port will link the 9th District directly to the Port of Savannah, bringing with it significant economic advantages to businesses in North Georgia and the Greater Appalachian Region,” Clyde said. “Undoubtedly, this smart and targeted investment will bolster communities and businesses across the 9th District and completion of the inland port will be pivotal to ensuring that Georgia remains among the top states for doing business for years to come.”

The inland port, which will be located on a 104-acre site at the Gateway Industrial Center, will have a capacity of 200,000 lifts per year. The facility will have six railroad tracks with a combined length of approximately 18,000 feet connecting with NS’ Crescent Corridor, a 2,500-mile East Coast network spanning from New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee, to New York and New Jersey.

The new facility will also have gate facilities for truck access, including two inbound lanes and two outbound lanes.

The notification about the federal award comes as other efforts are underway to enable the Port of Savannah to expand its ability to handle exports and imports to the Midwest and other key U.S. markets, including nearby Atlanta.

Real estate investment firm The Broe Group said Tuesday that the Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub in Rincon, Georgia, has completed work on a new 388,400-square-foot import distribution facility for the park’s second tenant. Ryder Logistics will operate the facility on behalf of an unnamed consumer products brand. 

Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub’s new 388,400 square foot import distribution facility marks the park’s first million square feet of completed industrial operations. Serviced by OmniTRAX managed rail services, SGIH provides its tenants dual-rail service from CSX and Norfolk Southern. (Photo and caption: The Broe Group)

Two additional speculative facilities are under construction to accommodate growing demand at the Port of Savannah, Broe said. OmniTRAX, a short line operator and Broe subsidiary, oversees the industrial hub.

The industrial hub is located along Highway 21, which is also home to numerous import distribution centers used by retailers and e-commerce companies such as Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, Amazon and Wayfair. 

CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) and NS also service the industrial hub, which is located 12 miles from the Port of Savannah.

Both the INFRA grant and Broe’s Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub come at a time when GPA expects to move more than 5 million twenty-foot equivalent units in its current fiscal year, based on current monthly volume trends.

Import volumes (in blue) and export volumes (in green) by TEUs at the Port of Savannah. The chart, which graphs data from the port, shows the growth in import volumes over the past five years. (FreightWaves SONAR) To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Related links:

Dredging project temporarily slows vessel activity at Port of Savannah

1 month, 1 million-plus containers at Port of LA

Broken records: ‘Historic cargo surge’ still making waves at US ports