Savannah Adds New Reefer Services to Central and Latin America

Seaboard Atlantic makes her maiden call at Savannah (GPA)

By The Maritime Executive 05-09-2019 12:01:27

The Americas-focused carrier Seaboard Marine has added the Port of Savannah to its network with two new reefer services, one to Central America and another to Latin America and the Caribbean. 

"Seaboard is tapping into an expanding market for fresh produce imports via Garden City Terminal,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch. “This is further proof that customers and carriers are discovering Savannah’s competitive advantages for chilled cargo.”

The ocean carrier’s first service to Savannah links the Southeastern U.S. to northern Central America, with Georgia exports primarily focused on frozen poultry and imports composed largely of perishables and apparel produced in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. The initial Seaboard Marine service to Savannah includes two vessels in a direct, all-water route, and will increase Garden City Terminal's vessel inventory by 20,000 TEUs per year of capacity. 

“Produce reaches consumers faster, fresher and cheaper through the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “That’s good news for the folks who live in the Southeast, and perfectly complements Georgia’s frozen poultry export market, increasing efficiency for our shipping line partners.”

Starting in June, Seaboard Marine will also offer a second weekly service between Savannah and  Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean (Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Suriname and Trinidad). For this service, frozen poultry exports will also form the basis of the southbound trade, with chilled produce imports northbound.

The new services will bring Savannah’s weekly vessel calls to 37 - equal to the Port of New York-New Jersey, which currently offers the most services on the U.S. East Coast.

The Georgia Ports Authority says that routing perishable goods through Savannah means produce reaches stores in the Southeast U.S. five to seven days sooner, which leads to better shelf life and product quality. Georgia’s central location means shorter overland routes to inland markets, allowing time-sensitive cargo to reach stores in less time.

To handle all of this value-added reefer cargo, the Port of Savannah has built out its powered refrigerated container rack capacity to handle up to 3,300 boxes at a time, including nearly 500 plug-ins for trailered boxes.