New Mason Mega Rail in Georgia to take 200,000 trucks off the highways
March 28, 2018
The Georgia Port Authority is hard at work at the Port of Savannah, with an inland terminal slated to open in October. Its latest project, the Mason Mega Rail, broke ground on Monday, March 26, and is expected to take more than 200,000 trucks off the roads each year.
The Georgia Port Authority’s $126.7 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal is expected to increase the Port of Savannah’s rail capacity to 1 million containers each year. The rail expansion will allow GPA to extend its service to new markets outside the region, including Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati.
Approximately 97,000 feet of additional rail will be built at Garden City Terminal, totaling to nearly 180,000 feet. This will effectively increase the number of working tracks from eight to 18. Once completed, the terminal will be able to build 10,000-foot unit trains at the terminal, according to a news release.
According to port authority documents, the longer and more cost-effective trains will give rail companies more incentive to provide direct, expedited rail service to the Mid-American Arc, which stretches from Memphis to St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus and Ohio Valley.
Unfortunately, the Mega Rail also will eliminate the need for trucks. It will bring all rail switching onto the terminal, making nearly two dozen rail crossings obsolete, reducing the use of crossings on Georgia State Route 21 and State Route 25. The port authority estimates this will take more than 200,000 trucks off the roads annually.
Essentially, the new Mason Mega Rail will allow direct rail freight delivery to a wider area. Freight once delivered by trucks from the port will be shifted to rail.
“Our team estimates the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will slash rail time to the Midwest by a good 24 hours, and present a viable new option for many manufacturers, shippers and logistics professionals,” said Georgia Port Authority Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood in a statement.
The Mason Mega Rail is expected to become fully operational in the second half of 2020.
Gov. Nathan Deal and the port authority have been busy with making the Peach State a major transportation and logistics hub in North America. In addition to the Mason Mega Rail, GPA will open an inland terminal in Chatsworth, Ga.
The Appalachian Regional Port could save truckers approximately 350 miles per trip by diverting truck traffic from the Port of Savannah on the southeastern border to a port at the northern border. Opening in October, the Appalachian Regional Port could pull nearly 50,000 trucks a year away from highly congested areas, such as Atlanta. Unlike the Mason Mega Rail, which expands the port authority’s services to a wider area, the inland port will mostly service the immediate region.
Other projects include growing Savannah’s crane fleet, deepening the inner harbor and expanding gate structure by eight truck lanes, totaling 56 truck lanes.