Atlanta train companies to help clear bottleneck on Port of Savannah

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Help for bottlenecks on the coast at the Port of Savannah is coming from metro Atlanta.

There are more than 450 acres filled with shipping containers and 5 miles of railroad tracks at Norfolk Southern’ s Austell terminal, but no ocean within 200 miles.

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But the Georgia Port Authority is teaming with Norfolk Southern to use that Cobb County terminal space.

“So, they want to de-bottleneck their port by taking containers off the port and bring them to our pop-up terminal in Savannah, and bringing them here to Atlanta to free up space,” D‘Andrae Larry, Norfolk Southern’s Vice President for International Intermodal said.

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Channel 2 Action News has taken you to Savannah to see the bottlenecks. Ships have been sitting offshore because there’s no place to offload their goods.

Last month, the Georgia Port Authority announced at a supply chain roundtable at the state Capitol it would lease open space from Norfolk Southern and CSX.

While the Austell facility is far from the coast, the rail lines in and out, the extra space and the technology and equipment already in place make it an ideal spot to temporarily park shipping containers loaded with goods until they can be picked up for their final destinations.

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“So, when they came to us and said we want to try this new pop-up terminal model, we said, ‘we’re ready,’” Larry said.

What’s called the “dwell time” for goods at Port of Savannah is typically four to five days. Right now, the dwell time is double that.

Unloading shipping containers and moving them to Cobb county will ease that wait.

“We’re prepared for as many as they want to bring,” Larry said