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Georgia Sets RoRo Record as Industry Grows and Baltimore Vessels Divert

Brunswick RoRo terminal
Brunswick set a RoRo record as auto industry grows and it aided with Baltimore diversions (GPA)

Published May 21, 2024 3:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The Port of Brunswick, Georgia, which had the largest autoport by space in the U.S., achieved its largest month ever in April. While the port was aiding with the diversion from Baltimore, they also highlighted the strong growth in the U.S. auto market and efforts by manufacturers to increase inventory as the sector continues to recover from the pandemic.

The Georgia Ports Authority handled 80,600 units of RoRo cargo in April, an increase of more than 44 percent or 24,760 units versus April 2023. Approximately 9,000 import vehicles and 1,000 high/heavy equipment they reported had been diverted from the Port of Baltimore.  The port’s executives said they expected the impact of the diverted cargo will taper off in June as the Port of Baltimore restores full service. Vehicle carriers have already begun to enter Baltimore after the temporary channels were established.

Brunswick averaged 69,880 units per month during the first three quarters of FY 2024. Port officials highlighted that heavy equipment was up by 500 units in May compared to the monthly average of 246 units per month in FY 2024.

“Asian imports remain strong, but we are also seeing an uptick in vehicle exports, new customers have chosen Georgia Ports, and we have increased capacity for existing customers,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “Additionally, manufacturers are working to raise dealership stocks from the current 14-day inventories to 30 days’ worth of vehicles.”

As a demonstration of the growth in the car industry, port officials highlighted that FY to date, Brunswick has seen a 19 percent increase in auto and machinery volume. So far, they have handled 709,545 units in nine months. For the full year in FY 2023, Brunswick handled 723,515 RoRo units.

March was also a record month with the port handling 77,236 units, a 21 percent increase which came before diversions from Baltimore increased. In March alone, Brunswick had a record 52 vessels, up by 11 from the prior year, and in the nine months of FY 2024, the port has seen 431 RoRo calls. They are projecting for the year the port will have 572 ships up from the prior record of 534 in FY2015.

They point out that 23 carmakers and 17 heavy machinery producers use the Port of Brunswick. Lynch has said that volume has grown as automakers expand production. The port’s processors have also captured additional market share in the South Atlantic region.