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Appalachian Regional Port open for business

Port expected to take 50,000 trucks off of the roads of Georgia each year

port article

The cranes at the inland port in Chatsworth. Marcia and the train in the background show how large they are. They are able to stack containers five high. Love the flag on the cranes. 

By State Representative Rick Jasperse 

 

Last week the biggest long-term economic development project in our region opened just up the road in Murray County. The Appalachian Regional Port cut the ribbon after three years of work. 

Governor Nathan Deal and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, myself, and Senator Chuck Payne were joined by more than 300 business and civic leaders from around the area for the opening of the $26.5 million facility. 

The inland port, 388 miles by rail from Savannah, will serve as a distribution and intake point for businesses in north Georgia, northeast Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee and will help move cargo to

and from the Savannah port. You may not know it, but Savannah is now the second-busiest port on the Atlantic coast, with an economic impact of $126 billion a year. This is just like a port on the ocean except that instead of a ship delivering the cargo, a train will. At this port those big box containers will be loaded and off loaded onto the trucks you see hauling goods around the region, especially on I-16.

The Appalachian Inland Port is operated by the Georgia Ports Authority. Rail service to the port is controlled by CSX. Officials said the port is expected to take 50,000 trucks off of the roads of Georgia each year.

Yes, this is a big site with big equipment to handle the load. Each round-trip container moved via the ARP offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways. The three rubber-tired gantry cranes each has a lift capacity greater than 40 tons. Working together, the cranes can handle 100,000 container lifts per year. The port is just north of Eton on Highway 411. Drive by and take a look at it if you’re in the area. 

Congressman Graves, who has been an active advocate for the deepening of the harbor of the Port in Savannah, said the value of the port to the county will be apparent.

“This is an exciting day,” he said. “It is celebrating success here in the region, and it is a great investment and commitment, and it really shows the vision that the governor and the state of Georgia have for this area and the expectations. It is a glimpse into the future of what we are going to see from job development and economic growth and wage increases all throughout this region, so, a very exciting day.”

One of the users of the port will be Mohawk Flooring. "We plan on using it as a cost-savings initiative for Mohawk," said Steve Bevan, director of transportation and logistics. "Instead of trucking from Savannah to north Georgia, we'll pick up the containers in Chatsworth at the ARP, and truck it from there to our locations. We're going to use it as much as we can. It's a significant cost savings for us."

I was asked this morning at physical therapy if the railroad tracks that go through Pickens County up to Blue Ridge would see a lot more traffic due to the Inland Port. The Inland Port in Murray County is on the CSX rail line from Atlanta to Fairmount to the Great Lakes. They will unload containers off the rail and onto trucks that will deliver to businesses in Pickens County and all around the tri-state region. I have heard the Ports Authority say many times the port touches every county in the state either through importing or exporting goods around the world. So the answer is not rail traffic, but those containers will be cheaper to receive and send for Pickens County and northwest Georgia. 

We met folks from all over the region including the folks who make snack cakes we all love who have been shipping certain products to China. Our state leads in job creation in the country, and we have all invested in what has been rated the 2nd best infrastructure in the United States. I look forward to seeing what new companies move to our region, and that our existing ones continue to grow their businesses in the best state to do business.