CSX, GPA Launch ‘Carolina Connector’ Service

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Daily rail departures are now offered between GPA’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal in Savannah and CSX’s CCX Intermodal Terminal in Rocky Mount, N.C. (pictured). (Photograph Courtesy of CSX)

Daily rail departures are now offered between GPA’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal in Savannah and CSX’s CCX Intermodal Terminal in Rocky Mount, N.C. (pictured). (Photograph Courtesy of CSX)

CSX and Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) have teamed to offer daily “Carolina Connector” rail service from the Port of Savannah’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal to CSX’s CCX Intermodal Terminal in Rocky Mount, N.C.

CSX and GPA on Sept. 7 reported that the Carolina Connector offers customers the following four benefits:

  1. Fast service. CCX is located on CSX’s main line and cargo departing the Port of Savannah is available to customers on the third day after leaving the Garden City Terminal. “Customers can get access to cargo more quickly on the Carolina Connector service, because Savannah is a first port of call for ocean carriers transiting the Panama Canal,” GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch said. “Containers are ready for pick-up at CCX before they can even be unloaded from a vessel at other ports further up the coast.” Additionally, on-dock rail service expedites container handling, the partners said. GPA’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal features 85 acres and 24 miles of on-terminal track.
  2. Broad reach. With 37 weekly services, the Port of Savannah offers more containership calls linking more world markets than any other port in the mid-Atlantic or U.S. Southeast, according to the partners. “For customers, Savannah’s superior connectivity means more options on sourcing and routing goods, and, for exporters, better access to global markets to sell their products,” GPA Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron said. Major North Carolina exports include agricultural goods, such as cotton and forest products. For farms in western North Carolina, CCX is said to offer a shorter drive than routes to mid-Atlantic ports. “The region’s import-export cargo mix adds to the efficiency of the service, because containers can be loaded with goods going both directions,” CSX Vice President of Intermodal and Auto Maryclare Kenney said. “Major importers include furniture sellers and big box retailers.”
  3. Flexibility. According to the partners, ample space at CCX, combined with longer-term storage options at the Port of Savannah’s new Garden City Terminal West yard affords exporters scheduling flexibility. “The Garden City Terminal West yard allows importers to store retail goods or manufacturing components until they are needed, without the need to pay demurrage,” GPA Vice President of Sales and Marketing Flavio Batista said. “Similarly, exporters will be able to pre-stage their cargo on-terminal to await vessel loading.” In Rocky Mount, CSX customers with gate access via QR code can pick up or drop off containers on chassis seven days per week, from 8 a.m. to midnight, the partners added; CSX customers that need a container lifted on or off a chassis will have access 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  4. Location. CCX offers access to I-95 and features three wide-span, zero-emission electric cranes with a lift capacity of 110,000 containers per year. In addition to its remotely operated electric cranes, CCX is equipped with CSX’s X-Gate technology, which is said to automate the in-gate process, streamline traffic flows and automatically inspect loads leaving the facility. To ensure cargo security, the facility is also equipped with berms, fences and cameras.

“The integration of GPA’s On-Dock Rail and the Inland Port at CCX signifies a leap forward in providing efficient, sustainable and dynamic rail-to-truck inland port container service for our customers,” CSX Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Kevin Boone said.

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