New rail port connects north Georgia with ships on the coast

A new inland port terminal is allowing shippers to move cargo between northern Georgia and the Port of Savannah by train rather than sending trucks through the jammed highways of Atlanta.

Gov. Nathan Deal attended the official opening Wednesday of the Appalachian Regional Port. The Georgia Ports Authority and state taxpayers spent $26.5 million building the rail terminal in Murray County.

Railroad tracks link the inland port to Savannah's seaport more than 380 miles (610 kilometers) away. Port officials say moving more cargo by train should take up to 50,000 trucks a year off the roads between Atlanta and Savannah.

Griff Lynch, the port authority's executive director, says the rail terminal could attract customers from north Georgia's carpet industry as well as automakers in neighboring Tennessee and Alabama.