Issue 6 2021 - FBJNA


Containers move fast out of Port SC’s Inland Port Greer. (Photo credit: Craig Lee)

North America’s heartland ports help ease congestion from coast-to-coast

By John Jeter

The other day, Joe Harris dropped into Lowe’s for sheet- metal screws for a DIY home project. An employee told him he hadn’t seen screws “since the COVID shortages started.” Like any other consumer,

Harris was disappointed, sure, but he understood, perhaps better than most. “It’s on the water, it’s being

manufactured, and it’s coming this way,” the spokesman for the Virginia Port Authority

says. “But the fact is the

producers can’t produce it quickly enough and get it here quickly enough, so stocks of certain things get depleted pretty quickly.” While Harris is confident

that he will complete his outdoor

shower, he drills

into the global issue plaguing stakeholders up and down the supply chain: uncertainty. “The just-in-time order

where you had a vessel coming in every six to eight days has been largely disrupted. And trade and commerce, what drives these things in terms of success, is predictability—and there’s not much in the supply chain that’s predictable,” Harris says.

That’s especially true

of port congestion, which has certainly clogged the logistics media, to wit: in July, “FarmPress” quoted an executive who said a load of tree nuts that used to take 35 days to get from California to Spain now takes 77 days. In fact, yes, things have

Bird’s-eye view of the Port of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. (Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority photo)

“We have encouraged customers to look at whether their cargoes may be suited for bulk transit compared to containerization.”

-- Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Port Milwaukee

gone nuts at American and Canadian ports, coastal and inland, which have posted historic volumes in the past year. South Carolina Ports’


inland terminals set records in 2021, with a combined 192,844 rail moves, up 11.7% from a year ago. Inland Port Greer’s

157,842 rail moves

rose 12.6%, while Inland Port Dillon saw 35,002 rail moves, up nearly 7.9% this fiscal year, the authority reported. “While volume fell off at

the start of the pandemic, it has since roared back,” says Byron Miller, Director of Sales at SC Ports, which operates inland terminals in Greer, 212

miles from Charleston via Norfolk Southern, and Dillon, 110 miles away via CSX. Greer reported its busiest-

ever month with 16,688 rail moves

March, up more 10 >> last

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