Port of Savannah's Stevedoring Firms Unify Operations Under One JV

GPA garden city terminal
Courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

Published Jan 3, 2022 11:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, operations at the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal underwent a subtle change: the busy container terminal's three stevedoring services are now operating under a single joint venture company, Gateway Terminals.

At a time of surging import volume, terminal operators Ports America, Ceres and SSA Atlantic have consolidated all of their container terminal, truck gate and stevedoring services at the Port of Savannah under Gateway Terminals. The objective is to streamline operations and improve throughput under unified management. Gateway will oversee all aspects of the operation of loading and unloading vessels, including hiring longshore crews, planning vessel stowage and managing cargo handling safety. 

“Benefits for port customers include integrated operations across all berths, providing the ability to turn more ships and move more cargo,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “This improved efficiency and collaboration is coming at the perfect time, in light of the sustained increase in cargo volumes over the past year and a half.”

The Port of Savannah is the third-biggest port complex in the nation, handling about 36 ships per week and about 500,000 TEU per month. The port experienced a cargo backlog last fall at the peak of pandemic-driven demand, but by the start of the new year, it had whittled down the number of waiting ships to a handful. It is expanding on-dock storage space, ordering more RTGs and (with government and private partners) setting up off-site "pop-up" yards for extra room. And with the inauguration of a long-awaited intermodal rail facility in November, it has greatly increased its cargo throughput for markets further inland. 

"By expediting the projects needed to ensure the free flow of cargo, we’re addressing our customers’ concerns today, and working to re-establish our longtime practice of keeping capacity 20 percent above current demand," said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten in a statement.