Port of Savannah Acquires 145 Acres to Expand Container Terminal

Port of Savannah (file image)

Published Feb 6, 2020 2:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

At the Georgia Foreign Trade Conference on Tuesday, Georgia Ports Authority executive director Griff Lynch announced the acquisition of 145 acres of new space adjacent to the Port of Savannah - enough to add more than one million TEU in annual capacity.

"This is the largest addition of container terminal space in Savannah in more than 20 years, and represents a powerful opportunity for Georgia to take on new trade," Lynch said. "As the Georgia Ports Authority enters its 75th year, we are proud to follow in the tradition of those who came before us, making exciting advances in capacity and technology."

Lynch also announced that Garden City Terminal dock construction has been completed, and the terminal can now serve three 14,000-TEU vessels (and up to eight vessels in total) at the same time. The improved dock and new container yard space are part of a plan to increase the GPA's capacity to more than nine million TEU by 2030. This blueprint includes one more large berth, for a total of four 14,000 TEU-vessel slots.

In order to improve service, Savannah's Ocean Terminal will be partially converted to handle containers. Renovations at Ocean Terminal, located just downriver from the main container port, will include a new truck gate, upgraded container yards and rubber-tired gantry cranes for container operations. Construction is currently under way on the upgrades. Phase I of the Ocean Terminal container yard is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Lynch also outlined plans for the new Savannah Container Terminal, a 200-acre facility to be built on Hutchinson Island. The new site will have a capacity of 2.5 million TEU when fully developed, and the first phase is expected to come online in 2025.

GPA has seen rapid annual growth ever since the opening of the expanded Panama Canal. Thanks to the diversity of its cargo routes, its volumes grew by more than five percent in 2019 despite the trade tension between China and the United States, which weighed heavily on West Coast ports. “It kind of defied the odds,” Lynch told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It is a sign that the Southeast is just a healthy place to be in the U.S. right now."