Griff Lynch, Georgia Ports Authority executive director, reported to the GPA board fiscal year-to-date growth of 4% for loaded container traffic, moving 1.01 million 20-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 40,545 TEUs compared with the same period in 2015.
In October, the GPA handled 251,566 loaded TEUs, a gain of 5,876 TEUs, or 2.4%, to set an all-time GPA record for the month.
“I would like to thank our customers for their continued confidence, and congratulate our entire team on this record growth, achieved despite challenges related to Hurricane Matthew and the Hanjin bankruptcy,” said Lynch. “These results are a testament to GPA’s strength in the marketplace, and the need to continue expanding capacity on GPA terminals.”
The board also approved $4.27 million for the Savannah Multimodal Connector, a rail project pivotal to expanding GPA’s service frontier westward.
“This action today by our board gives a green light to GPA’s Mid-American Arc,” said Jimmy Allgood, GPA board chairman. “Improved unit train capacity will build density into the system, and make routes between the Midwest and the hub port of Savannah more attractive to our rail providers.”
Set for completion in 2020, the $140 million project will double annual rail lift capacity to 1 million containers. The project will allow Garden City Terminal to handle additional 10,000-foot-long unit trains, while simultaneously reducing impact on nearby communities.
The multimodal connector will play a key role in GPA’s Mid-American Arc initiative, which will expand rail service from Garden City Terminal to and from an arc of cities ranging from Memphis, to St Louis, Chicago and the Ohio Valley.
Total tonnage across all GPA terminals for the fiscal year to date reached 10.36 million tons, for an increase of 0.5%. Since July 1, Savannah has moved 8.9 million tons of containerized cargo, a gain of 311,438 tons. Although total container tons have risen by 3.6% in fiscal year 2017, the number of empty containers moving across GPA’s docks have decreased by 17.6% to 252,307 TEUs compared with the first four months of FY2016.
In other projects, the GPA has installed 104 refrigerated container racks—more than any other US terminal—to transition those containers from diesel generators to electricity. Through efforts such as this and electrifying ship-to-shore cranes, the Port of Savannah avoids the use of more than 7.5 million gallons of diesel annually.
For more information, see www.gaports.com.