Georgia Ports Hits Four Million TEUs Milestone

COSCO Development
COSCO Development

By The Maritime Executive 01-25-2018 05:52:50

Georgia's Port of Savannah handled more than four million TEUs in 2017 – an increase of 11 percent and the port’s highest annual volume ever.

For the month of December, GPA handled 323,000 TEUs, up 10.6 percent or 31,000 TEUs, for the busiest December in Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) history. Additionally, container exports outpaced imports in December. Loaded export boxes rose by 13.3 percent, while loaded import containers grew at a rate of 11.2 percent year over year. Of 323,117 TEUs in December, export TEUs accounted for 52 percent of trade for the month, while imports were 48 percent. 

“Savannah is double the size of the next largest port in the region, highlighting Georgia’s growing role as a gateway for American cargo,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said. “Similarly, there is no deepening project more significant in the nation at this time than the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.” 

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal released his Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal last week, allocating $35 million in additional support for the deepening, for a total of $301 million in state funds. Currently, there are three dredges working in the Savannah River. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2021. 

As part of the Authority’s ongoing effort to expand capacity, the board approved a $3.5 million expenditure to update four of its older ship-to-shore cranes to operate with greater speed and efficiency. In November, the Port of Savannah received four Neopanamax cranes. The Neo-Panamax cranes are tall enough to lift containers 152 feet above the dock. The booms reach out 192 feet from the dock face. Lift capacity for each crane is 72 tons. With the booms up, the cranes are 412 feet tall. The crane fleet operates over nearly 10,000 contiguous feet of dock and nine berth spaces. 

Another six will arrive in 2020, growing the port’s fleet to 36 cranes, and allowing the port to move nearly 1,300 containers per hour over a single dock. 

Total trade for GPA for 2017 reached a record 35 million tons of cargo, an increase of 3.8 million, or 12 percent. Intermodal business at Garden City Terminal improved by 18.8 percent in December, reaching nearly 65,000 TEUs moved by rail. The GPA is scheduled to break ground on the Mason Mega Rail terminal in early spring. The project will double Garden City Terminal’s rail lift capacity to one million containers per year and is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.