The first phase of the Mason Mega Rail project, which is part of the port’s $3 billion investment plan, is scheduled to come online by October and the second phase is set to become operational by the end of 2020, the port said in early April.
In a statement released Tuesday, the St. Louis Regional Freightway — a development enterprise formed to create a regional freight district and authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri that comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area — said the on-terminal unit train would enable CSX and Norfolk Southern to deliver faster and more frequent rail service to Midwest markets.
Trent said last week at the St. Louis Regional Freightway Industry Forum that shipping via rail through the Port of Savannah would lower the cost for shippers by $300 to $400 per container compared to transport from the West Coast to St. Louis, and the total transit time would be comparable, according to the statement.
“We offer a premium, lower cost option and, in addition, we provide that consistency,” Trent said at the forum, according to the statement. “We believe we have a viable solution to not only support existing business in the St. Louis region, but also to grow business in the St. Louis region.”
St. Louis is 350 miles closer to the Port of Savannah than any other major East Coast gateway, according to the statement.
The Port of Savannah had its busiest April in history with 364,481 TEUs, which was a 1.9% year-on-year increase. Its fiscal-year-to-date totals grew to 3.7 million TEUs, an 8.7% jump over the same period in fiscal year 2018, GPA announced May 20.
GPA handled 76,000 TEUs of intermodal cargo during the month, which was an 11% increase.