South Carolina leaders broke ground last March on an “inland port” in Greer, S.C. – a $46.5 million taxpayer-funded facility run by the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA).

In launching this “port” last October, S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt hailed it as “a key piece in the economic development puzzle.”

“The Upstate in particular has a high concentration of companies that are heavy exporters,” Hitt said. “This facility will help streamline their supply chains and encourage additional growth and investment.”

Hitt – a former BMW executive – also boasted that the inland port would capture business from surrounding states.

What is this “port” in reality, though?

So far, it’s nothing but a taxpayer-funded hub for Upstate automaker BMW – a terminal enabling the company to use rail instead of trucks to import materials to its Greer, S.C. facility. In other words volume isn’t being increased, it’s simply being shifted.

Other business doesn’t appear to be booming …

“Charleston is struggling with Greer,” one regional source explained to FITS. “They cannot convince the region’s exporters to shift from truck since the rail rate is not competitive, nor is the service frequency … we hear Charleston is offering BIG subsidies to potential exporters to shift to rail, something their financials indicate cannot be sustained.”

Hmmmmm …

So … is it time to label South Carolina’s “inland port” as nothing but the latest in a long line of taxpayer-subsidized incentives for BMW?

It’s sure looking that way …

UPDATE: And here’s some additional competition to make things even tougher …