Port of Savannah marks record October

The Georgia Ports Authority achieved its busiest October ever for loaded containers, moving 251,566 loaded twenty-foot equivalent container units. (Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton)

Savannah, Ga. – Nov. 21, 2016 – Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch reported to the GPA board Monday fiscal year to date growth of 4 percent for loaded container traffic, moving 1.01 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 40,545 TEUs compared to the same period in 2015.

In October, the GPA handled 251,566 loaded TEUs, an increase of 5,876 TEUs, or 2.4 percent, 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,” Lynch said. “These results are a testament to GPA’s strength in the marketplace, and the need to continue expanding capacity on GPA terminals.”

Also on Monday, the board 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 GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “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.

The GPA also took action at its November meeting to increase capacity at the Port of Brunswick, the nation’s second busiest autoport. The board approved three items totaling $15.5 million that will develop an additional 85 acres for vehicle processing at Colonel’s Island Terminal.

“I would like to thank Chairman Allgood and our entire board for the approvals today for our facilities in Savannah and Brunswick,” said Lynch. “These moves position the authority to grow with existing port users, and to provide turnkey operations for potential customers.”

Total tonnage across all GPA terminals for the fiscal year to date reached 10.36 million tons, for an increase of 0.5 percent. Since July 1, Savannah has moved 8.9 million tons of containerized cargo, an increase of 311,438 tons. Although total container tons have increased by 3.6 percent in Fiscal Year 2017, the number of empty containers moving across GPA’s docks have decreased by 17.6 percent to 252,307 TEUs compared to the first four months of FY2016.