Ports authority board okays $127M for inland rail terminal in Gville


“The Georgia Ports Authority Board has approved expenditure of $127 million to build the Blue Ridge Connector, an inland rail terminal in Gainesville, Ga., linking Northeast Georgia with the Port of Savannah’s 35 global container ship services. The future facility will open in 2026 and serve a region important for the production of heavy equipment, food and forest products. 

“Through improved connectivity, developments like the Blue Ridge Connector maximize the impact of Georgia’s extensive logistics network,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “Inland terminals have a proven track record of powering economic development for rural Georgians by extending port services to the doorstep of manufacturing and supply chain operations.”

Funding for the Blue Ridge Connector is a mix of GPA internal capital and a grant from the Federal Maritime Administration of up to $46.8 million. Norfolk Southern Railroad will connect the facility to GPA’s Mason Mega Rail terminal in Savannah. Counting this latest project, GPA has now invested more than $374 million in rail capacity, including the Port of Savannah’s on-dock Mason Mega Rail Terminal and the Appalachian Regional Port in Northwest Georgia. Approximately 18-20 percent of GPA’s container cargo moves by rail. The rest is handled by truck.

“This important investment will help our customers streamline their supply chains while reducing congestion on Georgia highways,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “As we have seen at the Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County, improved rail service to the region will increase transportation efficiency and act as a magnet for jobs and economic development. Every container moved by rail will avoid a 600-mile roundtrip by truck between Savannah and the Gainesville, area,” Lynch added. “That’s a massive benefit to cargo owners seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.” Hybrid electric rubber tire gantry cranes will be used.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Two years ago, U.S. Senators Reverend Warnock, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Jon Ossoff announced a nearly $47 million grant for the construction of the facility.)