Charleston Investing In Intermodal Growth Story


Intermodal traffic at the US port of Charleston has continued to increase, with volumes growing by 18% year on year (y-o-y) in 2013. The port is investing in its intermodal connections as it prepares to expand its role in the US container supply chain following the expansion of the Panama Canal. BMI highlights that the growth in intermodal traffic is part of a wider trend in North America, with rail freight operators' intermodal operations expanding in line with the country's recovering consumer outlook and a strategy of diversification by rail cargo operators away from commodities transport.

Intermodal rail traffic at the port of Charleston, the US' 10th largest container port, has increased by 18% y-o-y to reach 145,000 containers. This marks a 50% increase in intermodal volumes since 2011. The rail terminals that service the port are located 15 miles away from the facility in Northern Charleston. In 2012 the port launched its RapidRail program, with trucks shuttling containers from the port to rail terminals. The port's rail intermodal services are operated by CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Intermodal traffic accounts for the transport of just 9% of the port's total container throughput volume, but with the facility's container levels projected to rise, there is further growth potential for intermodal operations at the port. In 2013 the port handled a total of 1.6mn TEUs, an annual increase of 6.8%. Over the medium term (2014-2018) we project the port's container throughput to increase by 44.9%, an annual average of 7.7% to reach a forecast 2.3mn TEUs in 2018.

More Containers = More Intermodal Demand
Port of Charleston Container Throughput (TEU) and y-o-y % Change

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This article is tagged to:
Sector: Freight Transport, Shipping
Geography: United States