The Board of Directors of Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has approved $92m in funding for the new Mason Mega Rail Terminal at the Port of Savannah.

The $126.7m terminal is expected to double the port’s annual rail capacity to one million containers and is set to become the largest on-terminal rail facility in North America by 2020.

The newly approved funding will be used to build 124,000ft of new track, 88 automated switches and rail control devices, as well as rail and power infrastructure for rail-mounted gantry cranes.

The new track will be able to accommodate 10,000ft-long unit trains on Garden City Terminal.

The trains, which will provide a faster and more frequent service, will also extend the Port of Savannah’s ability to serve various cities ranging from Memphis to St Louis, Chicago, and Cincinnati.

“A strengthening economy and a greater reliance on GPA in major inland markets is driving growth at the Port of Savannah.”

GPA executive director Griff Lynch said: “A strengthening economy and a greater reliance on GPA in major inland markets is driving growth at the Port of Savannah.

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“We expect this trend to continue as more customers take advantage of Garden City Terminal’s central location and efficient terminal operations.”

The Mason Mega Rail Terminal will be developed as part of a comprehensive expansion plan that comprises a deeper harbour, the largest fleet of ship-to-shore cranes in North America, inclusion of 60 new rubber-tired gantry yard cranes and expanding truck gates.

The facility also marks the next step in the Port of Savannah’s effort to handle additional cargo from Neo-Panamax vessels.