After the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) handled all-time record volumes in August, Griff Lynch, executive director for the GPA, said the Port of Savannah is on track to achieve a monthly record for September, expecting to move more than 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) this month.
Number 1 export port
"We frankly didn't anticipate growth for the months of August and September, but we are gratified by the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our employees," said Lynch.
"Although there is still much work to be done, Savannah's status as the Number 1 export port means it will play a critical role in the nation's economic recovery."
Based on cargo bookings, GPA said it is projecting more than 5% growth compared to September 2019.
Aside from the Port of Savannah, GPA noted that the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP), GPA's inland terminal in Northwest Georgia, Murray County, also reported record volumes in August and projects similar results for September.
"The ARP and our Mason Mega Rail project are both examples of GPA's proactive approach to planning, development and completion of projects well ahead of demand," said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight.
"Clearly, our ability to handle additional volumes related to exponential increases in e-commerce and a renewed demand for American-made export products is helping to produce these positive numbers."
The ARP nearly doubled its cargo for the month of August to 6,156 TEUs and is anticipating similar growth in September.
GPA noted that it approved six new container storage bays, totalling 230 TEU slots to handle additional demand at the inland terminal. The added bays will increase annual capacity by 15,000 TEUs and be complete by the end of the year.
The ARP provides an alternative to an all-truck dray to and from the Port of Savannah for target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Each roundtrip container offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways.
Other ongoing projects to increase capacity at GPA include the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, which is now 75% complete and the Mason Mega Rail Terminal which is close to 50% finished.
Recently, GPA said it also reconfigured a portion of the Garden City Terminal container yard to add more than 11,000 TEUs of container storage; and purchased an adjacent parcel to grow Garden City Terminal to 1,345 acres.
GPA said Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute US$25 billion in income, US$106 billion in revenue and US$2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy.
The Port of Savannah handled 8.5% of the US' containerized cargo volume and 10% of all U.S. containerized exports in 2017.