At its July board meeting, the Georgia Ports Authority approved a spending package of $19.7 million to construct the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) in Chatsworth, Murray County, Georgia.
The funds consist of $10 million from the state of Georgia and $9.7 million from the GPA. In addition, CSX is making off-site improvements to facilitate the new inland port. Murray County purchased the land at a cost of $700,000 and deeded the site to GPA. For the land purchase, $500,000 came from a state economic development grant and $200,000 from the Murray County Economic Development Authority.
“We would like to thank our board of directors, Gov Deal, the state of Georgia, Murray County, and CSX Transportation for making this incredible partnership possible,” said Griff Lynch, GPA executive director. “The ARP will create a new gateway to the Port of Savannah for our customers serving Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and beyond. We estimate the ARP will offset more than 350 truck miles per container—or close to 18 million miles every year.”
This new inland terminal is the second for the GPA and part of the “Network Georgia” program designed to create inland terminals throughout the state to reduce intermodal truck traffic and provide greater rail capacity to the southeastern United States and beyond.
Occupying about 40 acres, the inland terminal in Chatsworth will be operated using efficient rubber-tired gantry cranes to move cargo to and from CSX trains. GPA expects construction to be complete in late summer 2018.
Also at the recent meeting, Lynch reported the GPA moved 30.8 million tons of cargo and 3.6 million 20-foot equivalent container units in fiscal year 2016. It is the second straight year that TEU volumes topped 3.6 million. Despite a decrease of 1.3% in containers for FY2016, combined annual TEU growth for FY2015-2016 reached 15.4%.
GPA estimates that 24% of the approximately 320,000 TEUs diverted to the Port of Savannah over FY2015—or more than 75,000 TEUs—was retained by the authority.
The authority also approved $4.3 million to upgrade electrical power for GPA’s fleet of neo-Panamax Ship to Shore (STS) cranes. By the end of 2017, eight more STS cranes will be added, bringing the total number of cranes to 30.
For more information, see www.gaports.com.