Frequently Asked Questions

What is an intermodal facility?

An intermodal facility optimizes three transportation modes — trains, ships, and trucks — to move goods domestically and internationally. Numerous rail-related intermodal movements take place including the transfer of freight between water and rail, and truck and rail, to ensure that cargo arrives at its final destination. Intermodal rail offers shippers advantages in terms of cost savings, cargo capacity, and environmental benefits. View our Intro to Intermodal page to learn more.

What is the Navy Base Intermodal Facility?

The intermodal facility will provide a hub for the transfer and shipment of goods through three modes of transportation: trains, ships, and trucks. The facility will allow the Charleston region to facilitate the movement of goods and commerce over rail, stimulating economic development within the region and providing connections to key regional infrastructure.

Why is Palmetto Railways developing this facility?

An intermodal facility is needed to meet the needs of the growing Charleston region and provide support to the expanding South Carolina Ports Authority. With Palmetto Railways developing the intermodal facility, the state of South Carolina will own the facility and both of the state’s Class 1 rail carriers will have equal access to the site.

Where is the Navy Base Intermodal Facility project site?

Palmetto Railways is developing the Navy Base Intermodal Facility on a 118-acre site on the former Charleston Naval Complex. The project site is located near the intersection of Hobson Avenue and Viaduct Road. A map of the project site is available on the About the Project page.

Why was this location chosen?

The site is situated near the South Carolina Ports Authority and major highways and interstates, while also providing equal access to both of the state’s Class I rail carriers, CSX and Norfolk Southern. The former Charleston Naval Complex location was chosen as it takes advantage of close proximity and availability of the region’s transportation infrastructure.

What developments will take place to construct the facility?

While the intermodal facility will utilize existing rail lines eliminating the need for new rail lines in neighborhoods, some construction will also take place. The facility is part of a larger redevelopment effort on the former Charleston Naval Complex. Our project elements map provides a breakdown of each of the developments.

When will construction begin?

Construction is expected for completion in 2018 and operations are expected to begin in 2019.

Where is Palmetto Railways currently in the development process?

Since the project site will impact wetlands, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been tasked with providing a Third Party Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). To view the full Draft EIS or to read more information on the EIS process, visit the USACE project website at

Can you tell me more about the Third Party Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process?

The EIS is a document prepared to describe the effects for proposed activities on the environment,including the natural and physical environment, and the relationship of people with that environment.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is required to identify and analyze the potential environmental impacts of this project. The USACE is also required to make sure that environmental impacts are made available to public officials and the citizens before project decisions are made or actions are taken. Upon completion of the EIS, the USACE will decide whether to permit or not permit the project as the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.

  • Palmetto Railways is the project owner and applicant in the NEPA process and is responsible for funding the EIS.
  • The USACE is the lead federal agency responsible for the development of the EIS and decision on whether to permit or not permit the project.
  • Palmetto Railways has contracted a third party, Atkins, to provide an objective and unbiased EIS under the direction of the USACE for the project.

The USACE will complete the review, analysis and evaluation of the proposed project, as well as other reasonable and practical alternatives. To read the full Draft EIS, visit the USACE project website at

What immediate benefits does the Navy Base Intermodal Facility bring to the region?

Construction of the Navy Base Intermodal Facility will have immediate short and long-term benefits for the community. It is estimated that over 3,000 jobs will be supported by the construction of the facility and related infrastructure. The increase in total economic activity in the region is estimated to be $450 million during construction. Other benefits include economic development, supporting infrastructure demands, and sustaining our environmental responsibility.

How can I get more information about the project?

Visit: and click on the Navy Base Intermodal Facility page.
Email: Send us an email at
Leave a message on our project hotline: (843) 303-9162.

When is the next public meeting?

Palmetto Railways is currently holding meetings with community groups to discuss the project details. The community calendar is available on our Community page or you can request a speaker for your next event.

The USACE held a public hearing on May 24 to solicit public comment on the draft EIS. The next public meeting will be held when the Final EIS is published in the fall of 2016. For more information visit the USACE project website at

Who can I speak with to address train concerns, complaints, or incidents?

Train concerns, complaints, or incidents should be addressed to either CSX or Norfolk Southern:


Property acquisition
Palmetto Railways is in the process of acquiring property for the 100 foot buffer between residential property and the west side of the facility. On the southern loop, we are evaluating opportunities for property acquisition for the future. Other properties may be required for the development of the intermodal facility or project elements.

Settlement agreement
A settlement agreement among the South Carolina Department of Commerce, its division of Palmetto Railways, and the City of North Charleston was approved by the North Charleston City Council in 2012. The settlement was a win for the state and city, ending all pending litigation among parties.

The full settlement agreement is available to view here: