Inland Port Bringing Growth to Pee Dee

by Matthew Christian

Inland Port Dillon is already paying off for the Pee Dee region.

S.C. Sen. Kent Williams, whose district includes the inland port, said Friday afternoon that already two industrial businesses have moved to Marion County because of its proximity to the inland port near Dillon.

“We’re very fortunate in the Pee Dee region, not just Dillon County but in the Pee Dee region — and I underscore the region — to have an inland port in our region, more specifically located in Dillon County,” Williams said. “We were just discussing the impact already of this inland port. I know for sure that Marion County has already attracted two industries that said to us, the leadership of the county, the reason why they chose Marion County to locate and do business was because of the inland port being in proximity.”

S.C. Rep. Jackie “Coach” Hayes of Dillon added that industrial development would expand to allow the tax bases of Dillon and other surrounding counties to expand, providing better facilities for schools and other governmental functions.

Williams added that the port had exceeded its goals for the first year of operation.

S.C. Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. of Florence said the facility has surpassed anyone’s expectations and is being used tremendously. He added that the facility’s location just off exit 190 on Interstate 95 made it a convenient location.

Since opening on April 16, 2018, the inland port handled 13,222 rail lifts, or an average of 50.85 per day, including each day between April 16 and Dec. 31. Rail lifts are the number of total containers moved from a tractor-trailer to a train or vice versa.

Erin Dhand, the corporate communications and community affairs manager for the South Carolina Ports Authority, added that the SCPA expects the volume of containers handled at the facility would steadily grow for the first year or two.

“The facility directly employs 14 people, but the true benefit in terms of job creation is the port-related business that will be drawn to locate or expand in the area,” Dhand said. “We believe the facility will be a catalyst for growth and positive economic development in the future.”

She added that there were notable opportunities for the inland port to grow in terms of agriculture.

Already, C&M Hog Farm has added a transload facility at Inland Port Dillon. A transload facility transfers method of shipment from one to another, like from a truck to rail.

“Inland Port Dillon is an important complement to the investments in capacity and infrastructure underway at our marine facilities in Charleston,” Dhand said. “The facility provides new intermodal capabilities that will support the port’s overall growth by expanding our reach into markets throughout the Carolinas, Northeast and Midwest. We look forward to the job creation and economic development opportunities it brings to the region well into the future.”

The South Carolina Ports Authority was established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942. It owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, SCPA operations facilitate 187,200 statewide jobs and generate nearly $53 billion annual economic activity.

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