Monday, November 26, 2007

The Port ... of Elkin?

The Associated Press is reporting that officials are studying the possibility of building an inland port ... in the North Carolina mountains.

"Legislators have appropriated $100,000 for a study in which researchers from Western Carolina University will determine the feasibility of a shipping hub for distributing freight to be transported by truck, rail or even air," says the AP.

“It has nothing to do with water,” said Alan Thornburg, a senior policy fellow at Western Carolina. “It’s an inland intermodal facility for the transfer of goods.”

The idea of moving freight inland by truck or rail is being considered in part, to take pressure off traditional seaports as the principal place where freight is transferred because those ports can’t handle the volume.

“Seaports are - this sounds really bad - swamped,” said Michael Smith, a WCU business professor involved with the study. “We’re overwhelming the seaports in a lot of ways.”

In 1970, about 1 million containers a year moved to and from U.S. seaports, said Scott Hercik of the Appalachian Regional Commission. By 2000, that number had grown to about 20 million. By 2020, it is expected to be 50 million.

The commission, which is looking at possibilities for an Appalachian network of inland ports, sees in them a potential economic boon.

An area in northern Virginia surrounding an inland port in Front Royal, the first of its kind, has added more than 7,000 jobs since its creation in the 1980s, said Hercik, a commission adviser. ...

Read the rest of the article here. (Oh, and I just randomly picked Elkin.)


Lsullivan said...

I tend to agree that the seaside ports are "swamped". A mountain-base port system could prove to be beneficial on several levels. Transportation during inclement weather could prove as a hindrance but then again, inclement weather happens on the high seas as well.

Now, as for Elkin....I say pick Franklin. They need more people! (shout out to my girl, Teran, here)

M. Lail said...

STate officials must make sure that the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City are at capacity before they do anything like this. MC and W-ton are two great locations and SHOULD challenge places like Norfolk and Charleston for more goods. Once that happens, THEN a mountain port should be conceived, in my opinion.

But, if we have to choose a spot, why not Lake Lure? There's already water there! :)

M. Lail said...

Now folks in Marion are jockeying for position: