Georgia Ports’ Mega Rail Project Marks MilestoneWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has completed the final nine of 18 new tracks at its Mason Mega Rail Terminal.
Opened Nov. 12, the new tracks will increase intermodal capacity to and from the Port of Savannah by more than 30%, GPA reported. The first nine tracks opened on May 28, 2020. The work is part of the Mason Mega Rail project that has doubled the Port of Savannah’s rail capacity to 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per year. The project broke ground in 2018, and includes 129,000 feet (or nearly 24.5 miles) of new track, 88 automated switches and rail control devices, and the rail and power infrastructure to support the operation of rail-mounted gantry cranes. Mason Mega Rail combines the on-dock CSX and NS rail terminals into one facility.
“The massive new Mason Mega Rail yard is coming online at the perfect time to help address the influx of cargo crossing the docks at the Port of Savannah,” Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp said at the ribbon-cutting event celebrating the new track opening. “The added rail capacity, along with new container storage on and off terminal, are already serving as important tools to resolve the supply chain issues for Georgia and the nation.”
GPA, CSX and NS are working to open temporary container yards to expedite cargo flow at the Port of Savannah. GPA reported that as soon as Nov. 15 it will open the first off-terminal overflow container yard less than five miles from the port.
“We’re setting up multiple inland locations that will be connected via truck or rail to the Port of Savannah,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said. “We’re working with both CSX and Norfolk Southern to provide inland and off-dock locations to move these long-dwell imports off the facility. We think this will make a huge difference for both importers and exporters as we clear out our yard.”
Meanwhile, GPA reported that the Port of Savannah handled 504,350 TEUs in October, up 8.7% or 40,250 TEUs from October 2020. The performance surpassed the port’s previous all-time record of 498,000 TEUs set in March 2021.
Through land purchase and development, GPA said it would deliver 820,000 TEUs of additional annual capacity by March 2022 and another 400,000 TEUs by July 2022, for a total of 1.24 million TEUs of additional space. GPA is also building a new big ship berth at Garden City Terminal to accommodate additional 16,000-TEU vessels.