Port of Savannah GA container ship Stephen B Morton/Georgia Ports Authority

Georgia ports log 20 consecutive months of growth

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) handled a record 4.2 million 20-foot equivalent container units in fiscal year 2018 (July 2017 to June 2018), for an 8.4% increase year-over-year, or 325,000 additional units.

“Moving more than 4 million TEUs in a single fiscal year is an important milestone for Georgia,” said Griff Lynch, GPA executive director. “Georgia’s logistical advantages, along with the Southeast’s population growth, have resulted in increased demand, while the expanded Panama Canal has cleared the way for larger vessels to call Savannah.”

The GPA capped FY18 with its 20th consecutive month of positive year-over-year growth. In its busiest June so far, the Port of Savannah handled 370,725 TEUs, up 9.8% (33,014 TEUs) over June 2017. It was the GPA’s 18th month in a row handling more than 300,000 TEUs.

“Outstanding effort from our GPA employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association, stevedores, trucking and rail personnel made it possible to exceed customer expectations and achieve record results,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “I cannot say enough about the partnership and can-do spirit of the Georgia maritime community.”

In addition, intermodal rail lifts surged to 435,000, an increase of 16.1%, or more than 60,000 additional moves, another record for the GPA. 

At its meeting recently, the GPA board approved construction of an $8.8 million overpass, part of the $127 million Mason Mega Rail project that, upon completion, will allow 10,000-foot unit trains to be built on terminal. This, along with other improvements, will increase Savannah’s annual rail lift capacity to 1 million containers by 2020, thereby cutting transit time to markets such as Memphis, St Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati by 24 hours.

In August, the GPA will open its Appalachian Regional Port, an inland rail terminal that will take 50,000 trucks off Georgia highways. Removing the need for a 710-mile roundtrip via truck, the ARP will improve container availability and reduce transportation costs for port customers in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

In other business, the GPA board approved the expansion of refrigerated cargo capacity at Garden City Terminal. The project will add 15 refrigerated container racks, accommodating a total of 360 additional containers. The Port of Savannah currently features 104 racks, holding 2,496 containers at a time.

The board also approved the purchase of 10 additional container handling machines, at a cost of $3.5 million.

For more information, visit www.gaports.com.

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