Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Thursday the opening of the Chatham Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at the Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal. The new facility features three working tracks at 2,145 feet each and a total of 12,406 feet of storage tracks.
The Port of Savannah is the only single facility on the U.S. East Coast with two on-terminal ICTFs.
“A thriving business climate requires a transportation network that can support commerce and act as a catalyst to propel our economy forward,” Perdue said. “The completion of the Chatham ICTF will help to achieve this goal.”
The Port of Savannah’s two Class I rail providers offer unrestricted double-stack service with two- to five-day transit times to major hubs throughout the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Southeast.
Construction of GPA’s second ICTF was completed in early December and received its first train on Dec 22. CSX will provide seven weekly services through the facility. The use of rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes at the ICTF will increase efficiency and utilize cleaner burning ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, cutting emissions by 10 percent and creating a reduction in nitrogen oxide, carbon and particulate matter emissions.
“Part of our mission at the GPA is to maintain the natural quality of the environment, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said GPA Chairman of the Board Steve Green. “The completion of this project will increase our reliance on rail to move cargo and in turn will help Georgia and the nation reduce fuel usage and carbon emissions throughout the transportation chain.”
The combination of marine, rail and truck transportation services will continue to be how consumer goods are delivered affordably and on time.
“The Chatham Intermodal Container Transfer Facility represents an investment in the future and is a model for how transportation modes can work together for the efficient, environmentally friendly delivery of freight,” Clarence Gooden, executive vice president for CSX Corporation, said. “CSX is proud to be a partner in this growing enterprise, which provides an international gateway through which to export North American goods. We look forward to offering expanded intermodal and carload services over our rail network of more than 21,000 miles.”
Cargo received by rail accounts for 18 percent of business at Garden City Terminal. During the past five calendar years, Savannah’s on-dock rail volumes have increased 67 percent.
While the global recession has significantly affected international trade, the GPA is focused on preparing for future growth by improving efficiencies and increasing capacity. “We are taking the opportunity during this time to improve rail connectivity, increase on-terminal capacity and decrease the time it takes to process cargo,” said GPA’s Executive Director Doug J. Marchand.