The Port of Charleston, in South Carolina, aspires to place freight that comes in on the water, back on the water with a container-on-barge service, which is expected to be online as early as 2022. The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) submitted applications to state and federal regulators on December to build and dredge for a new wharf at the Wando Welch container terminal.
Specifically, the Port aims to decrease the traffic jam on nearby roadways. To this result, the port is planning to load containers onto barges at its Wando Welch Terminal in order to transfer them to the future Leatherman Terminal, four miles away, a ULCV-capable container facility that is currently under construction in North Charleston.
Moreover, Leatherman Terminal is approximately one mile from a new intermodal rail yard under development by state-owned Palmetto Railways.
The boxes would be lifted off the barge, transmitted from the terminal to the rail yard, and loaded onto rail cars for transport inland.
Additionally, the wharf is planned to be used for a tug-and-barge service that would bring more than 200 containers at a time to another container terminal now under construction on the Charleston peninsula.
COO, Barbara Melvin, quoted to South Carolina Radio Network
We can certainly have less emissions putting 200 boxes on a barge versus 200 trucks. Just from a quality of life perspective, trying to relieve some of the congestion that exists today.
Also, the port authority awaits the permission from the Corps of Engineers to build its wharf at the Wando Welch Terminal, that will enable barge shipments.
In the possibility that the project is approved, it will enable the construction of extra 700 feet of berthing at the site.
Concluding, an intermodal barge-to-rail system would involve extra box moves compared with an over-the-road delivery. Yet, it would decrease the traffic and the pollution its generating.