The South Carolina Ports Authority officially opened its new $50.5 million inland port in Dillon, linking the cargo-transfer hub in the state’s Pee Dee region to the Port of Charleston via the CSX Corp. railway line. The new inland port will enable trucks and trains to load and unload thousands of containers filled with consumer products with destinations to markets both domestic and foreign. The new Port Dillon will bring new economic vitality to an area with high unemployment and poverty rates.
“Inland Port Dillon will be a vital addition to South Carolina’s growing logistics sector, supporting the port’s overall volume growth and serving as a major economic driver of many facets of the industry,” said Micah Mallace, SPA’s director of strategic projects to the Post & Courier.
Dillon is best known for its tourist attraction “South of the Border,” which once had one of the largest video poker gambling operations before it was banned in 1999. Since then this region along the South Carolina and North Carolina border has struggled economically. The new inland port is expected to reverse the area’s fortunes and bring in new businesses that will create 1,000 new jobs. This includes a $200 million expansion at the Harbor Freight Tools distribution center located near the new port.
A recent study showed that Dillon was one of the most cost-effective locations in the state to build a warehouse or distribution center, based on analysis of labor costs, utilities, property values, taxes and logistics costs. There is plenty of room to grow with hundreds of acres available in industrial parks that have been underutilized until now.
“With the Dillon inland port…we desperately need finished product to provide industries looking to locate in the area,” said William Fleming Jr., president and CEO of Marlboro Development Team, Inc., on the project’s partners.
“The study demonstrates to businesses that as the logistics industry continues to grow across the state, there will be an increased need for supplemental infrastructure such as distribution warehousing, and that these operations can be executed at a competitive cost,” said Susie Shanon, president and CEO of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. The council conducted the economic analysis and study of the Pee Dee region.
SOURCE: Post & Courier, “$50.5 million inland South Carolina port opens Monday bringing jobs to rural area,” by David Wren, April 16, 2018
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