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The Georgia Ports Authority will spend $127 million building a new inland terminal for moving cargo by train between Savannah’s busy seaport and Gainesville northeast of Atlanta.
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The state authority’s governing board voted Tuesday to approve the funding, which includes a $46.8 million federal grant. Known as the Blue Ridge Connector, the terminal will link northeast Georgia to the Port of Savannah by rail across roughly 250 miles, giving shippers an alternative to moving cargo by truck through Atlanta.
“Every container moved by rail will avoid a 600-mile roundtrip by truck between Savannah and the Gainesville area,” Georgia Ports Authority CEO Griff Lynch said in a news release. “That’s a massive benefit to cargo owners seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.”
It will be the third inland terminal operated by the state authority, which also has them in Murray County south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in rural Bainbridge in southwest Georgia. The new facility is expected to open in 2026.
The Port of Savannah is the fourth-busiest U.S. seaport for cargo shipped in containers, large metal boxes used to transport retail goods from consumer electronics to frozen chickens. Savannah handled 5.4 million container units of imports and exports in the fiscal year that ended June 30.