The Fort Mill, S.C.-based company, which has operations in Fort Mill, Sumter and Fountain Inn, employs more than 1,600 South Carolinians to produce passenger, light truck and commercial tires for global markets.
The tire manufacturer’s steady growth has increased the volumes of Continental tires and materials moving through the Port of Charleston. Continental tires were previously trucked from the Port to Continental’s distribution center in Gainesville, Ga., but the company wanted a more efficient and cost-effective logistics solution.
Enter S.C. Ports Authority’s Inland Port Greer, located in Greer, S.C., along Interstate 85 between Atlanta and Charlotte. Continental Tire recently started moving imported cargo via rail to Inland Port Greer, replacing the need to drive the entire route.
The inland operation enables Continental Tire to quickly move cargo through South Carolina, cutting down on the time, cost and congestion often associated with long-haul trucking,
“The use of Inland Port Greer provides a great, reliable and efficient service that exceeds our supply chain needs,” said Corey Mabry, the head of logistics at Continental Tire, The Americas. “The one-day rail service, which provides a connection between the Upstate and the Port of Charleston, gives our company a competitive advantage.”
S.C. Ports Authority opened Inland Port Greer in 2013 and operations have consistently grown since, with rail moves up 24% year-over-year. Truck drivers pick up and drop off cargo at Inland Port Greer, and Norfolk Southern runs an overnight rail service to and from the Port of Charleston to ferry cargo back and forth.
The operation extends S.C. Ports’ reach inland and gives companies better access to both domestic and international markets. The 24/7 facility also provides greater flexibility and truck productivity, while allowing companies to reduce equipment costs.
“We solve many supply chain pain points for companies by consistently moving cargo quickly and on time,” S.C. Ports Authority president and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Our efficiently run inland port boasts 12-minute turn times on average and offers a reliable overnight rail service from the Port of Charleston. We’re expanding Inland Port Greer and will have ample capacity to handle growing cargo volumes alongside our customers.”
Continental’s use of Inland Port Greer aligns well with the company’s sustainability values; the use of rail on this route can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% on average compared to truck traffic, according to an SCPA analysis.
Continental’s strong relationship with S.C. Ports Authority, the S.C. Department of Commerce and the S.C. Council on Competitiveness’ SC Logistics initiative led to the company’s decision to use Inland Port Greer, along with the support of service providers Kuehne + Nagel and Cargomatic.
“We strive to collaborate with companies and provide logistics solutions that save them time and money,” said Suzanne Dickerson, SC Logistics’ director of logistics initiatives. “The fact that this relationship also creates a service advantage for Continental and an environmental benefit for communities by reducing truck traffic is a great success.”