According to “Midlands Connect,” ground is being broken on a new inland port this week in Greer, South Carolina. The port will provide a place to transfer shipping containers between trucks and trains and provide a direct rail link to the Port of Charleston.

South Carolina is a long way away so why should we care? Because the aim of the local Inland Pacific Hub (IPH) project is to eventually have our own inland port. The Inland Northwest is already a hub for commerce for the region/ Because of its central location, it’s perfectly positioned to be a key link to competitive commerce in the northern hemisphere. And not only do we have an ideal location, we also have the basic building blocks already in place, such as the Port of Lewiston, Spokane International Airport, an excellent system of Interstate and other highways, two Class I railroads, and an extensive network of fiber that links millions of people together technologically.

And with trade between our region and Pacific Rim countries increasing, it seems like an obvious advantage. While WSDOT led the first phase of the IPH project, and SRTC had the second phase, the initative has now morphed into a phase led by local civic, elected and business leaders to implement strategies to make a local inland port a reality.

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