Jonathan Lafevers, Cordele Intermodal Services President/CEO
CORDELE, GA (WALB) -
It's been nearly a year since a Cordele company signed an inland port agreement to connect businesses in our area directly with the Savannah port and global markets.
Officials with Cordele Intermodal Services say business has grown since they signed a deal with the Georgia Ports Authority. Now, they're working on a new development which could give our economy another boost.
Things are looking up for Cordele Intermodal Services since signing an inland port agreement with the Georgia Ports Authority last July.
"This program and really our company and this whole development has really elevated now to a statewide level," said Jonathan Lafevers, Cordele Intermodal Services President.
The agreement provides a direct 200 mile rail route to the Garden City Terminal in Savannah. The Savannah port is handling record cargo and those numbers will continue to grow.
"A big part of what we've done though is shift that traffic from the truck back to the rail, which is a big benefit to Savannah now that the harbor deepening is going to happen," said Lafevers. "You know the federal funds are coming and all of the approvals have been done."
In the last year, Cordele Intermodal Services has doubled its number of employees and has helped to spur other job growth in Cordele.
"It may be things like container repair or fumigation of containers for exports, peanuts and cotton etc," said Lafevers. " Those are trickle down jobs that get created and those people now have jobs here locally."
They're now working on a million dollar rail infrastructure build out by adding 10,000 feet of railroad track on their property to connect to the main CSX rail route. Lafevers says that will allow companies to have overnight shipping to Savannah and expand their business outside of the state.
"We're creating a true intermodal hub here that connects anybody around here to a national network in addition to be able to get to Savannah very quickly and very cost effectively," said Lafevers.
Lafevers says they expect to have a groundbreaking in 90 days. Construction for the rail build out could take up to three months. Cordele Intermodal Services also partnered with the local Economic Development Authority for the development. It is funded through the Georgia Department of Transportation and a federal grant.