News & Reviews News Wire Georgia Ports Authority to build inland intermodal terminal that NS will serve

Georgia Ports Authority to build inland intermodal terminal that NS will serve

By Bill Stephens | December 5, 2023

The Blue Ridge Connector in Gainesville, Ga., is expected to open in 2026

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The Port of Savannah’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal, the nation’s largest on-port intermodal facility, will link to the planned Blue Ridge Connector in Northeast Georgia via Norfolk Southern. GPA

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Georgia Ports Authority Board has approved spending $127 million to build the Blue Ridge Connector, an inland rail terminal in Gainesville, Ga., linking Northeast Georgia with the Port of Savannah’s 35 global container ship services.

The facility will open in 2026 and serve a region important for the production of heavy equipment, food and forest products, the ports authority said today. The terminal will include 18,000 feet of trackage and will have a capacity of 200,000 lifts annually.

“Through improved connectivity, developments like the Blue Ridge Connector maximize the impact of Georgia’s extensive logistics network,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “Inland terminals have a proven track record of powering economic development for rural Georgians by extending port services to the doorstep of manufacturing and supply chain operations.”

Funding for the Blue Ridge Connector is a mix of GPA internal capital and a grant from the Federal Maritime Administration of up to $46.8 million.

Norfolk Southern will connect the facility to GPA’s Mason Mega Rail terminal in Savannah. Counting this latest project, GPA has now invested more than $374 million in rail capacity, including the Port of Savannah’s on-dock Mason Mega Rail Terminal and the Appalachian Regional Port in Northwest Georgia. Approximately 18% to 20% of GPA’s container cargo moves by rail. The rest is handled by truck.

“This important investment will help our customers streamline their supply chains while reducing congestion on Georgia highways,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “As we have seen at the Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County, improved rail service to the region will increase transportation efficiency and act as a magnet for jobs and economic development.

“Every container moved by rail will avoid a 600-mile roundtrip by truck between Savannah and the Gainesville, area,” Lynch added. “That’s a massive benefit to cargo owners seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Hybrid electric rubber tire gantry cranes will be used at the new terminal.

2 thoughts on “Georgia Ports Authority to build inland intermodal terminal that NS will serve

  1. As one who just last week drove I-85 from Greenville to Atlanta, I can attest that if this new facility can take just 1% of the trucks off of that highway it is worth it.

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