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Northwest Grains International, LLC breaks ground on agricultural transload facility in Dillon County

Inland Port Dillon provides farmers with access to global markets

DILLON, SC — JUNE 11, 2021 — South Carolina Ports welcomes customer Northwest Grains International, LLC to Inland Port Dillon and Dillon County, S.C.

Northwest Grains International, LLC is breaking ground on an agricultural transload operation in Dillon County to serve agricultural producers. The operation will handle containerized soybeans, lumber, logs, peanuts, cotton, cotton seed and yellow peas for export through the Port of Charleston via rail-served Inland Port Dillon.

The new transload operation sits next to Inland Port Dillon. Northwest Grains will load crops into containers at its site, and the containers will then be loaded onto CSX trains at Inland Port Dillon to be efficiently delivered to the Port of Charleston for export to overseas markets.

This investment will provide farmers in the Pee Dee region, as well as farmers throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, better access to global markets.

“We are excited to welcome Northwest Grains International, LLC to South Carolina Ports,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “The company’s decision to invest in Dillon County and use Inland Port Dillon will further support farmers and agricultural business across the Carolinas. We are proud to play a role in supporting agriculture export growth in the Southeast.”

Construction on the site began this month. The operation is scheduled to open in late October, in time for soybean season. The $2.5 million investment will create five to 10 jobs.

“We found a great partner in South Carolina Ports, which shares in our commitment of providing excellent service and reliable shipping,” said Gary Mao, the founder and president of Northwest Grains International, LLC. “Our investment in Dillon County and partnership with SC Ports will enable us to support U.S. farmers by exporting containerized agricultural products. We look forward to our future growth in South Carolina.”

This operation will offer exporters greater access to containers, as well as provide faster turnaround times for ocean carriers’ containers. SC Ports anticipates handling 1,000 containers through the facility each year.

“This new facility will support the regional agricultural economy by reducing supply chain costs and swiftly exporting products for farmers,” SC Ports Chief Operating Officer Barbara Melvin said. “Our team is proud that our efficient operations will directly benefit farmers throughout the Carolinas.”

SC Ports opened Inland Port Dillon in 2018 to provide direct rail access to the Port of Charleston. The inland port enables customers in the Southeast to quickly receive imports and move exports. Port operations generate a $7.1 billion economic impact in the Pee Dee region each year, according to an economic impact study.

Notable quotes

“Northwest Grains International, LLC’s investment into an agricultural transload operation in Dillon County will create jobs and supports farmers throughout South Carolina and beyond. SC Ports’ well-run Inland Port Dillon continues to bring growth to the Pee Dee region by creating a direct connection to the Port of Charleston for our businesses.” — Senator Kent Williams

“We are excited to welcome Northwest Grains International, LLC to Dillon County. This operation will support soybean farmers and other agricultural businesses in our state, thanks in large part to SC Ports’ rail-served Inland Port Dillon and efficient port operations.” — Rep. (Coach) Jackie Hayes

“Northwest Grains International, LLC’s new agricultural transload operation is a great example of how Inland Port Dillon is creating opportunities for farmers to grow their businesses. Inland Port Dillon’s rail capabilities and South Carolina Ports’ connection to global markets are helping grow South Carolina agriculture exports and keep our agribusiness industry strong.” — South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers

“Dillon County Council welcomes Northwest Grains International, LLC to our community. This agricultural transload facility will support agricultural producers in our region and create jobs for our citizens. Inland Port Dillon played a huge role in attracting the company here, and this partnership will yield economic benefits to the Pee Dee region for many years.” — Dillon County Council Chairman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea

“Dillon County offers many great assets to businesses looking to locate in South Carolina, such as our rail-served inland port, which provides a direct connection to the Port of Charleston. Northwest Grains International, LLC showcases the tremendous opportunities found in Dillon County. We look forward to seeing this company launch operations in support of our farmers.” — Dillon County Administrator and Economic Development Director Clay Young

About Northwest Grains International, LLC

Northwest Grains International, LLC was founded by Gary Mao. Northwest Grains has grown considerably since, with the goal of being the largest exporter of containerized agricultural products in the U.S. The company has created a network of dedicated transloaders and direct ocean carrier contracts to facilitate the growth of the business and to serve its customers better. By utilizing an efficient and integrated procurement and logistics process, the company is able to deliver competitively priced products to each customer it serves. The company has focused on sourcing only the highest quality products from the best production areas in the country.

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SC Ports is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. Please visit www.scspa.com to learn more about SC Ports.

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