The Ports of Savannah and Brunswick, run by Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), are experiencing record growth in all key sectors, GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz said in his annual State of the Port address in late September. Tonnage increased 8 percent and hit a new record of 29.4 million tonnes for Fiscal Year 2014, which ended in June.
The GPA has already made a strong start for FY2015 with nearly 13 percent growth in container traffic over the first two months.
Key to this growth is the 38 weekly global steamship services that call at GPA’s Port of Savannah. Savannah is the only seaport on the US East Coast to receive ship calls from all G6 Asia services, nine of which transit the Panama Canal. It is also the only East Coast port that receives all 13 Suez services.
Most significant are the plans for future growth of the Georgia seaports. Over the next year, GPA expects to spend some US$1.3 billion on capital improvements to increase capacity at the Port from 4.5 million to 6.5 million teus.
“To accommodate growth at these levels, we are taking the necessary steps to expand capacity now,” said Foltz. This includes infrastructure improvements, such as additional cranes,
operational improvements and container storage consolidation.
Garden City Terminal Improvements
In late September, the GPA Board of Directors approved the latest phase of container storage consolidation, which will add space for additional TEUs at the 1,200-acre Garden City Terminal.
By 2024, Savannah’s Garden City Terminal will feature some 30 ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, up from the current 22, and 169 rubber-tired gantry cranes – all of which will be electrified, up from the 2014 total of 116, four of which were electrified, Foltz said.
With the consolidation of shipping lines and fewer, yet bigger, ships, scale is important. “It’s not uncommon within this facility to do over 20,000 moves in a day,” Foltz said. “We have modeled and designed the facility to double the current capacity within this footprint.”
Garden City Terminal will have direct highway access from the port to Interstates 95 and 16.
This will complement the on-terminal access Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern (NS) already have inside the Port of Savannah.
“Rarely will you find that proximity anywhere in the United States,” Foltz stated. “We are creating a highway system we call freight corridor to bring the last mile projects directly into our Garden City Terminal.”
By Karen E Thuermer
Correspondent | Washington