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August 17 2020

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August 17 2020 | The Journal of Commerce 57 Surface Transportation MICHELIN, A LONGTIME partner with the Port of Charleston, will begin moving its import cargo through Inland Port Greer, about 10 miles away from the tire manufacturer's 3 million-square-foot distribution center in South Carolina, the state's port authority said in late July. It's the latest in a series of indi- cators that show beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) have a strong interest in using inland ports, which allow BCOs to transport containers via rail or short-sea service, rather than mov- ing goods and commodities to and from seaports via trucks, thus reduc- ing costs and emissions. GE Appliances announced in early March it would tap Georgia's Appa- lachian Regional Port connecting to the Port of Savannah. Additionally, Brothers International and Amazon have begun using the inland port of Richmond with its container-on-barge service to the Port of Virginia. In South Carolina, rail traffic to Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon was flat for the fiscal year ended June 30, despite a 3.4 percent decline in pier containers in the same period. Inland Port Dillon traffic rose 9.7 percent year over year to 32,453 containers, while Inland Port Greer's volume fell 2.1 percent to 140,155 containers. Other Inland Port Greer tenants include BMW, adidas, Dollar General, and Eastman Chemical. Michelin has used Norfolk South - ern Railway's overnight service to Greer to transport raw materials imports since 2015. Finished tires, though, were trucked to the Port of Charleston for exporting. The Appalachian Regional Port in Chatsworth, Georgia, handled 27,132 containers in fiscal 2020, its first full year in operation, best- ing the Georgia Port Authority's 25,000-container goal. The Rich- mond Marine Terminal handled 41,019 containers in fiscal 2020, a nearly 23 percent increase. Turn times are also much shorter in an inland port compared with Charleston, Norfolk, and Savannah. The port authorities say trucks often can enter and exit inland locations within 15 minutes, whereas marine container terminals can take an hour. Less truck idling means less pollution and higher daily productivity per driver. JOC email: twitter: @arijashe picture of what the peak season would look like. Ocean container traffic as a driver of retail peak season ramp up is part of the uncertainty. IANA reports international inter- modal volume dropped 12 percent year over year in the second quarter, but activity in that sector was not as chaotic as on the domestic side, with sequential volumes down 2 percent in May and June. "It's really a wait-and-see if we see that bump up around Labor Day," Foote said, echoing comments from J.B. Hunt Transport Services in July. "We'll see what happens with back- to-school. We'll see what if the states reopen, how the reopening process is, how the COVID cases are." Mark Wallace, CSX's executive vice president of sales, said he's encouraged that ocean carriers have reversed some blank sailings, adding shippers are cautiously optimistic about the second half of 2020. Kenny Rocker, UP's executive vice president of marketing and sales, said the surge in e-commerce as con- sumers adjust to life at home and a relative improvement in overall retail sales bodes well for the rest of the year. "The warehouse inventory is normalized, so you don't have a lot of product and storage," he said. "E-com- merce has been pretty strong. Retail has been improving sequentially each month. So it looks to me, barring any type of second wave [of COVID-19 infections], that we're going to be in a really good position to have a really solid peak season." JOC email: twitter: @arijashe Cargo clusters Inland ports gaining popularity despite volume slowdown By Ari Ashe Intermodal volume in North America was down 17 percent in the spring and up 17 percent between May and June. Current tenants of Inland Port Greer include BMW, adidas, Dollar General, and Eastman Chemical. South Carolina Ports Authority

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