A new grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will directly benefit logistics at BMW's South Carolina production plant.
Automotive News (subscription required) reported on Wednesday that $25 million will be funneled into an intermodal project in Greer, South Carolina, to expand the Port Authority's lead railroad tracks and extend rails more than 15,000 feet to handle larger trains. For BMW, the grant will help bring the inland port some 212 miles closer to cargo and save the automaker from transporting components exported from Germany on long-haul trucks. The company has relied on the railway for years to handle cargo shipments from Germany, but the extension will help streamline operations further.
"They have handled over 180,000 containers for us over the past five years and created a much more efficient system for moving containerized product to and from the Port of Charleston," Max Metcalf, a BMW spokesman, said in a statement.
The grant will also help procure 40 additional acres for cargo container storage.
The $25 million grant for the port infrastructure is part of a wider sum of money the Department of Transportation doled out. In total, $1.5 billion was awarded for 91 road, rail, transit, and port projects. Some of the projects will directly fund new infrastructure for electric cars and self-driving vehicles.
For example, the fund will also dish out $20 million to Colorado to create a commercial-scale connected-car network with vehicle-to-everything technology. Cars will be able to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure components to enhance safety and warn drivers of possible hazards. The network will span 537 miles and see over 200 miles of fiber-optic cable laid in rural communities.