Port of Charleston developing rail near-dock intermodal yard

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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The Navy Base Intermodal Facility is set to open in Jul 2025. (Rendering/SCPA)
South Carolina Ports

With the overall future of intermodal rail looking strong, South Carolina has decided to build a new near-dock rail and an inner-harbor barge operation to improve workflow and capacity for southeast supply chains.

The new facility will be built at the Port of Charleston as part of the Navy Base Intermodal Facility.

SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said, “This resolves the last remaining competitive disadvantage we have as a major East Coast container port. This critical infrastructure project will greatly enhance SC Ports’ capacity, allowing imports and exports to swiftly move between the hinterland and the Port of Charleston.”

The Navy Base Intermodal Facility sits about one mile from Leatherman Terminal. Containers will be moved to and from the Leatherman Terminal on a dedicated road. Inside the intermodal yard, rail-mounted gantry cranes will lead containers on and off trains.

These projects, which are slated to open in July 2025, will complement the more than $2 billion SC Ports has already invested in its infrastructure and operations to remain competitive as a top 10 U.S. container port.

“South Carolina Ports is widely known as a top driver of our state’s booming economy, but that success doesn’t come overnight or by accident — it takes timely, strategic investment and innovative leadership,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said. “The latest investment in the Navy Base Intermodal Facility is the next step towards growing not only the Port of Charleston, but our state’s economy as a whole.”

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