The superior business climate of Horry County continues to improve with the efforts of area partners to restore the Carolina Southern Railroad service. This is will provide an additional method of transportation for businesses to connect with other cities and states. This 80-mile railroad extends from Mullins, SC to Whiteville, NC and then to Conway SC, but has been out of service since 2011. With a restored railroad service, the economic conditions of Horry County will be even better. The railroad is expected to reduce industrial transportation costs, decrease congestion on major highways from commercial trucks, and create high-paying jobs.
There is a lot of work to be done in restoring the railroad and getting its conditions safe for full-time use. R.J. Corman Railroad Group hopes to get the rail cars moving again within six months. This Kentucky based company plans to invest millions of dollars into the repair of the lines and is already working with representatives from the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation (MBREDC) and county officials to market the area to manufacturers; who would benefit from being close to a rail line. Existing companies in Horry County would also benefit, as they can save transportation costs like fuel and maintenance by using the railroad.
“Our goal is to help these companies create new opportunities to grow their business,” Henderson said. “We think working with these companies and working with the economic development group will help attract jobs to the area.”
R. J. Corman currently operates 10 other short lines railroads and employs more than 1,600 people in 23 states.
R.J. Corman will be looking for employees with rail experience, but they also offer a training program for those without experience, creating more jobs in Horry County with a skilled group of workers. Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and MBREDC Board Members, called the acquisition “a very significant development that offers tremendous potential for the Grand Strand.” The immediate impact will be more jobs, less traffic, and lower costs for existing business. The railroad will also yield long-term economic development initiatives. R. J. Corman Economic development is possible because of the determination of area partners and R.J. Corman. Productivity in the area will undoubtedly increase and new businesses will have even more of an incentive to come to the Myrtle Beach area to plant roots, grow, thrive, and prosper.