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Palmetto Railways Bolsters Infrastructure to Serve BMW Expansion in South Carolina

"Railway expansion for BMW"

Palmetto Railways Bolsters Infrastructure to Serve BMW Expansion in South Carolina

Upgrades at the Port of Charleston’s Columbus Street Terminal Enable Handling of Increased Vehicle Production

The city of Greer, South Carolina is readying itself for a surge in rail activity as industry player Palmetto Railways completes a $3.2 million infrastructure improvement at the Port of Charleston’s Columbus Street Terminal. The upgrades have been driven by the impending expansion of the local BMW plant, designed to increase its annual production capacity from 350,000 to 450,000 vehicles by the end of 2016.

Investing in Rail for Increased Economic Growth

BMW, a German automaker with a significant footmark in the global automotive industry, chose to channel about 70% of the vehicles produced at its Greer plant through the Columbus Street Terminal for export to around 140 worldwide markets. This massive operation needed significant support in terms of enhanced freight handling capacity and resources. Palmetto Railways, a South Carolina Department of Commerce firm that operates three railroad subdivisions, rose to the challenge by investing in key infrastructure improvements at the terminal.

Details of the Infrastructure Improvement Program

Palmetto Railways added approximately 4,300 feet of track at the terminal as part of its improvement measures, effectively boosting the track capacity to a total of 14,616 feet. In addition to the added track, the company also built a bridge across a creek located at the northern end of the terminal, thereby significantly improving the terminal’s access points.

The infrastructure enhancements will enable Palmetto Railways to handle more rail cars at the terminal. Jeff McWhorter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Palmetto Railways, stated, “We presently receive and originate an 80- to 100-car unit train for BMW seven days per week.”

Beneficial Impact for South Carolina and Beyond

These considerable infrastructure enhancements anticipate a remarkable growth in the state’s automotive sector and its corresponding logistics operations. More than local economic growth, this development can trigger a ripple effect in industries and markets worldwide that rely on BMW vehicles.

Palmetto Railways features Charleston and North Charleston subdivisions that deliver switching services to South Carolina State Ports Authority terminals and other various industries. It also operates the Charity Church Subdivision, serving BP Chemical, Nucor Steel and Santee Cooper Cross Generating Station while also offering interchange services with CSX.

With the new rail infrastructure in place, Palmetto Railways stands prepared for the accelerating BMW operations at the Port of Charleston’s Columbus Street Terminal. The upgraded railways signify an integral step forward for South Carolina’s automotive sector, anticipating the state’s continuing economic ascent and its pivotal role in the global automotive supply chain.


Palmetto Railways Bolsters Infrastructure to Serve BMW Expansion in South Carolina

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

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