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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Additional Rail Capacity

Mar 05, 2024 12:37PM ● By Donna Walker

SC Ports Expanding Rail Capacity to Support Port-Dependent Businesses

(Photo by David Dykes)


Alongside rail partners and support from state leaders, SC Ports is investing in rail capacity throughout the state to handle goods efficiently for South Carolina’s booming economy.


Construction of the future Navy Base Intermodal Facility is well underway in North Charleston.


Opening in July 2025, the rail-served cargo facility will be equipped with six rail-mounted gantry cranes that will efficiently move containers on and off CSX and Norfolk Southern trains.


“Growing rail capacity in the Port of Charleston will further enhance South Carolina’s competitiveness, ensuring our customers can swiftly move goods to market,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said.


In Upstate South Carolina, the expansion of Inland Port Greer has yielded more than 8,000 feet of additional rail track, and the container yard expansion is nearing completion.


These terminal enhancements will double Inland Port Greer’s cargo capacity.


“We move nearly a quarter of our containers by rail today. We look forward to growing this percentage by building critical rail infrastructure and terminal capacity in South Carolina,” Melvin said.


She added, “These projects will further support the billions of dollars being invested in South Carolina by port-dependent businesses.”


While total U.S. container volume declined in 2023, SC Ports’ intermodal volume increased nearly 12 percent last year, demonstrating a compelling rail product for ocean carriers and cargo owners, officials said.


SC Ports’ RapidRail program expedites containers between ship and train, with imports moving to rail less than 24 hours from actual vessel discharge.


SC Ports’ Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon achieved the highest January on record, moving a combined 17,656 containers last month.


The inland ports provide direct rail service to and from the Port of Charleston.


Within SC Ports’ container terminals at the Port of Charleston, SC Ports handled 208,538 TEUs and 115,744 pier containers in January. That was down slightly from last year and reflective of the softened volumes seen across the U.S., officials said.


January was a strong month for the vehicle segment, with 17,614 vehicles rolling across the docks, up 32 percent year-over-year.

Bank of America Grant Boosts HGTC Fundraising Goal

Horry-Georgetown Technical College took a significant step forward in realizing its vision for a new, world class Nursing and Health Sciences Institute with the help of a $250,000 grant from Bank of America.


Officials said the contribution marks a pivotal moment in HGTC's ongoing capital campaign, aimed at raising $2 million to support the construction and expansion of the institute, which is part of a larger $15 million project.


The grant from Bank of America will accelerate progress toward expanding physical facilities and attracting new students to its Nursing and Health Sciences programs, preparing students for success in the rapidly evolving health care sector, the officials said.


The project scope encompasses the renovation of 14,122 square feet of existing space and the addition of 10,000 square feet through the construction of a second floor inside the existing structure.


With Bank of America's support, HGTC aims to double its enrollment in health science programs, bolster the health care workforce pipeline, provide students with invaluable clinical rotations and internships, introduce new health care science programs, and offer professional development opportunities for its health care partners.


"We are immensely grateful to Bank of America for their generous grant, which is instrumental in advancing our mission to provide opportunities in the health care sector," said Marilyn Murphy Fore, president, Horry-Georgetown Technical College.


She added, "This partnership exemplifies the transformative impact that strategic collaborations can have on our community, and we are excited to continue working together to empower our students and build a stronger, healthier future."


The grant is part of Bank of America's longstanding commitment to strengthen coastal South Carolina communities by addressing key issues fundamental to economic opportunity and social progress.


The announcement is the latest in a series of investments that Bank of America has made in HGTC in recent years, including support of HGTC's Career Training programs and Emergency Scholarship Fund.


"We support Horry-Georgetown Technical College's mission to provide an accessible, affordable, high-quality, collegiate education and workforce development, which is why we directed this strategic philanthropic investment to help build stronger communities," said Kelly Tyler, president, Bank of America Myrtle Beach.


Tyler added, "This grant is an acknowledgement of the impact HGTC has on our community and exemplifies Bank of America's efforts to partner and invest in organizations that support community development and share our commitment to creating economic opportunity for the people of Horry and surrounding counties."

Weston Inc.’s Perfection Way Building in Timmonsville, SC, Leased to Pilot Freight Services

Weston, Inc. said Pilot Freight Services has leased ±85,320 square feet at 100 Perfection Way, a ±180,000-square foot building on ±19.5 acres in Timmonsville, SC.

Pilot Freight Services is an award-winning full-service transportation and logistics provider with 96 locations throughout North America.


The company’s freight forwarding services encompass every mode of transportation, including air, ground and ocean, serving all corners of the globe with a worldwide network of overseas partners. 

100 Perfection Way is part of Weston’s Southeast Industrial Properties portfolio of 60 tenants and 45 properties totaling over 7 million square feet.


Weston is a Cleveland-based commercial real estate owner and developer and one of the largest privately held industrial landlords in the South Carolina.

Colliers | South Carolina’s industrial brokerage experts, Chuck Salley, Dave Mathews, Thomas Beard, and John Peebles represented Weston Inc. in the lease transaction.

Colliers’ Grant Butler serves as the property manager for 100 Perfection Way.


Don Record with LCK, Colliers | South Carolina’s project management partner, recently completed several upfit projects for Weston at the property, including the demolition of approximately 10,000 square feet of office space and the addition of a demising wall.

Thinking About Moving to Another Bank?

There is plenty to consider before you switch to another financial institution, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


FDIC officials say if you are thinking about leaving the bank where you currently have a checking or savings account, you should understand your options.


Should you stay or go?


According to FDIC officials: figure out what you want most from a bank, and then compare the benefits and costs of doing business at different institutions. Don’t let short-term promotional offers be the only factor in your decision making.


Discuss matters with your bank before switching. For example, if you are considering closing an account because the institution is charging a new fee, ask if you can avoid that cost by signing up for direct deposit.


If you notice a better offer or rate from a competitor, ask if your institution can match it.


If you decide to go, there are things to consider
After considering your options, perhaps you find that the benefits of changing institutions are worth more than the benefits of staying.


Here are steps that may help ensure a smooth move.


Setup future direct deposits to go to your account at the new bank
The process may take several weeks so plan ahead. If you automatically transferred money from checking to savings at your old bank, start making those transfers at your new bank as well.


This also might be a good time to increase your savings commitment. FDIC Consumer News: Starting Small Can Lead to Big Savings has ideas on maximizing your savings.


Consider starting small
If you can, open your new checking account at or slightly above any minimum balance to avoid fees if you do not expect to begin using it right away. Consider keeping enough money in your old account long enough to pay remaining bills.


If you are moving a certificate of deposit, visit FDIC Consumer News: Shopping for a Certificate of Deposit? for things to think about.


Decide if you want to write checks and, if so, where to buy them
Many people choose to conduct transactions using a debit card instead of writing checks. If you do want to order checks, remember that you are not required to purchase them from your bank and you may be able to find a better deal from a check printing company.


If you choose to get checks, consider starting the numbers close to where your current supply ends in the event a business associates checks with low numbers with those that might be newly banked.


Have bills that are automatically paid out of your old account transferred to your new account
If you authorized a utility or another company to withdraw funds from your checking account, you may need to go back to that company to make the necessary changes.


If you are using your bank’s online bill-pay feature to automatically handle these incoming bills, cancel the bill payments on your old bank’s website and enroll at the new bank’s site.


Be aware that process that can take a few days to finalize, so be sure to make any changes well before payment due dates.


Guard against overdrafts or late fees during your transition period
Carefully monitor each account at your old bank that is connected to direct deposits or automatic bill payments in case you need to pay a bill another way, such as in person or by check, to avoid being charged a fee.


Make sure all withdrawals have posted to your old checking account before you close it
Prematurely closing the account before all checks, debit card payments, ATM withdrawals or other transactions have been paid from the account could trigger fees or other problems.


Find more information on Overdraft and Account Fees here.


Securely dispose of all your old checks and debit/ATM cards after your account is closed
Do not assume that just because your account is closed that checks or debit cards associated with the old account cannot be used by a thief or cause hassles for you.


If you are closing a credit card account, pay attention to the tips above, particularly ensuring that automatic payments or pending purchases will be handled without incident.


For additional guidance on how to avoid hassles or unnecessary fees, speak with customer service representatives at your old and new bank.


FDIC officials warn that when searching for a new institution, be aware that there may be scammers and fake banks that often pretend to be from an organization you might know and trust (such as an FDIC-insured bank) to try and get your personal information.


The FDIC can help you verify whether a website is a fraudulent entity pretending to be an FDIC-insured bank or the legitimate website of an FDIC-insured bank.


You can confirm the status of a bank by checking on the FDIC’s BankFind.


Read more about avoiding Scammers and Fake Banks.


The FDIC is an independent agency created by Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system.


To accomplish this mission, the FDIC insures deposits; examines and supervises financial institutions for safety, soundness, and consumer protection; makes large and complex financial institutions resolvable; and manages receiverships.

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