Navy Base Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at the Former Charleston Naval Complex (CNC) in North Charleston, South Carolina


Frequently Asked Questions


NEPA Process Related Questions

  1. Why is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) involved with the proposed construction and operation of the ICTF?

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is involved with the proposed construction and operation of the ICTF because Waters of the United States would be impacted as a result of the Applicant’s (Palmetto Railways) proposed project. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act the Corps must review a party’s application for dredging and/or filling of Waters of the United States, and make a permitting decision as to whether or not the applicant’s proposed project is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative. In addition, as the lead Federal Agency, the Corps must prepare an assessment of the potential impacts to the human and natural environment, consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would arise from its actions (potentially permitting the dredging and/or filling of Waters of the United States). The Corps decided to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as it determined that there was a high likelihood of significant impacts occurring with implementation of the proposed project.

  2. What role will the Corps have in the proposed development of the ICTF?

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District will be the lead Federal agency responsible for the development of an EIS and decision on whether to permit, or not permit, the Applicant’s proposed project as the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative. The Corps will complete the review, analysis, and evaluation of the proposed project, as well as other reasonable and practicable alternatives, strictly as a neutral party.

  3. Who is the Project Applicant, Palmetto Railways?

    As a division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce Division, Palmetto Railways was established to promote the economic viability of the state through rail services. Its mission is to provide safe, efficient, and cost effective rail solutions to facilitate the movement of freight and support economic development efforts throughout the state. Palmetto Railways primarily consists of three rail lines; the Port Utilities Commission (PUC), Port Terminal Railroad of South Carolina (PTR), and East Cooper and Berkeley Railroad Company (ECB) which were formed in 1924, 1956, and 1977 respectively. In 1991, enabling legislation created Palmetto Railways as a division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The PUC and PTR’s primary business segment has been acting as a switching provider to the South Carolina State Ports Authority, but through the years and the creation of ECB, the business model expanded its services to include line haul services, industrial switching, bulk transload operations, and track construction and maintenance in support of various economic development projects throughout the state.

  4. How will my comments from scoping, and reviews of the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements, be addressed and responded to during the EIS process?

    All comments received during the scoping periods were captured in two Scoping Reports, which are available on this website. Comments were used in the development of project alternatives, and in defining the scope of the analysis for the Draft EIS.

    Comments received during the Draft EIS review period (April 29 through July 9, 2016) were addressed and captured in the Final EIS, in both an appendix and with substantive changes to the Final EIS. The Final EIS includes descriptions of public comments and addresses them in Appendix O.

    The Final EIS was made available on June 29, 2018 and the comment period is open through July 31 2018. Click here to submit a comment on the Final EIS. Substantive comments received during the Final EIS review will be addressed in the Record of Decision (ROD).

  5. Are there any other State and/or Federal agencies involved with the review of the proposed ICTF? What are their roles?

    There are numerous local, state, and federal agencies that will be involved with the EIS for the proposed ICTF, as cooperating agency or participating agency. These include:

    • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Role is to administer the Clean Air Act, and provide guidance on potential impacts to air quality.
    • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)- FRA’s role as an agency is to enable safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods with intermodal transportation, they will provide oversight throughout the EIS to matters under their jurisdiction to ensure compliance with NEPA.
    • United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)-Role is to help determine potential project related impacts to protected fish and wildlife resources and provide guidance regarding this resource.
    • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-Role is to help determine potential project related impacts to marine resources and marine ecosystems, including protected species and Essential Fish Habitat.
    • State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)-Role is to help identify and provide guidance on protection of cultural resources.
    • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC)-Role is protection of public health, coastal resources, and the state's land, air and water quality. SCDHEC issues the 401 Water Quality Certificate.
    • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR)-Role is to provide guidance on the protection conservation of South Carolina’s natural resources, including state-listed species.

  6. When will the EIS process end for the proposed ICTF?

    The EIS process would conclude after a 30-day public comment period on the Final EIS and signed Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will indicate whether or not the Corps will issue a permit for the proposed project.

  7. How will the EIS consider the multiple proposed and on-going projects in the vicinity of the former Charleston Naval Complex?

    In addition to describing anticipated impacts from the proposed project, these impacts will be considered as an incremental addition to the impacts from past, current, and reasonably foreseeable future activities and efforts. These combined impacts would be presented in the Cumulative Impacts analysis section of the EIS.

Proposed ICTF Related Questions

  1. What is meant by “intermodal container transfer facility”?

    According to the 2008 S.C. State Rail Plan, “intermodal” refers to an approach to planning, building and operating a multimodal transportation system that optimizes use of the strengths of each mode and the connections between modes. The benefits of an efficient intermodal transportation system can be numerous offering the promise of lowering transportation costs, increasing economic productivity, reducing congestion, improving mobility of all sectors of the population, and reducing energy consumption and mitigating environmental impacts. There are a multitude of rail-related intermodal movements involving transfers of freight between water and rail and truck and rail.

  2. Would the proposed ICTF handle both incoming and outgoing containers?

    Yes, the proposed ICTF would handle freight-related traffic delivered by incoming ocean-going vessels coming into the Port of Charleston, as well as containers delivered to the ICTF by land-based truck and rail.

  3. Will construction of the proposed ICTF require modifications to the existing road and/or highway network?

    Construction of the proposed ICTF would require several modifications to existing rail and road systems. Improvements to rail would include the leads from the north and south of the facility, with the south lead terminating at the Cooper Yard, and the north lead connecting to both CSX and NS rail. Road improvements would include a private drayage road connecting the ICTF to the SPA container facility (currently under construction), a flyover connecting Cosgrove Avenue to McMillan Avenue, and modifications to the existing Viaduct Road overpass.