The Georgia Ports Authority handled a total of 321,094 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) containers in October 2015, an additional 9,335 units, or 3 percent increase over the same period last year. For the fiscal year to date (July-October), the GPA has moved 1.27 million TEUs, up 74,754 units, or 6.2 percent.
"Month over month container volume growth continues to outperform expectations," said Foltz in his report during GPA's board meeting Monday. "Inflated volumes in 2014 due to West Coast cargo diversions are beginning to return to normal levels. We are optimistic consumer spending in the U.S. during the upcoming holiday season will lead to volume growth going into 2016."
Also during the November meeting, the Authority approved $12.75 million in spending for a 63-acre expansion of the Port of Brunswick's vehicle storage area. "The growing strength of the Southeastern U.S. market, combined with increased market share at Georgia's deepwater ports, have required a steady increase in capacity in both Savannah and Brunswick," said Jim Walters, GPA's Chairman of the Board. "The action taken by the Board today will serve as a strong sales tool to prospective customers."
Ongoing efforts to expand capacity at the Port of Savannah will bring the following projects online in 2016: a new truck gate, adding eight interchange lanes; four new ship-to-shore cranes (for a total of 26); 30 new rubber-tired gantry cranes (for a total of 146); and the Georgia Department of Transportation's Jimmy Deloach Parkway that will provide a direct link between the port and Interstates 95 and 16.
Foltz also reported the GPA has been awarded a $990,000 EPA grant under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act. The money will go toward a truck rebate and finance program to help owner/operators purchase container hauling trucks with a 2010 or newer engine. The program is aimed at retiring older, less efficient diesel trucks in order to reduce emissions. GPA will also partner with a financing vendor to double the program's capacity to $1.98 million.
"As we continue to grow this business, we are committed to doing it in an environmentally responsible way," Foltz said. "This DERA grant will expand our efforts to reduce diesel emissions."
Since 2001, GPA has achieved a 51 percent decrease in diesel use per TEU moved. By shifting from diesel to electric power for ship-to-shore cranes, refrigerated container racks and rubber-tired gantry cranes, the authority avoids the use of 5.8 million gallons of diesel annually.
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