Port of Savannah reported its best-ever June performance handling 494,107 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs).
The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) noted that the Fiscal Year 2022 was "another record-breaker," with container volumes growing 8% for a total of 5.76 million TEUs.
"The Port of Savannah ended the year with a record June, handling 494,107 TEUs in total cargo, up 10.6% or 47,300 TEUs compared to the same month last year," GPA said in its announcement.
The Authority owed the expansion to its sound infrastructure to facilitate the surge in cargo and some diversion from the Port of Charleston in nearby South Carolina.
"Several factors have contributed to our growing container capacity, including expedited infrastructure projects, our inland pop-up yards, and an influx of truck drivers moving to the Southeast," said Griff Lynch, GPA executive director, adding that despite the record volumes, the Port of Savannah "remains fluid."
Reroutings boost Georgia Port's performance
"In addition to organic growth among its port customers, Savannah trade has also been boosted by West Coast labor talks and delayed access to rail at West Coast ports, prompting a significant shift in vessel calls," the GPA said.
Savannah is also receiving container trade diverted from the Port of Charleston, it added.
GPA noted that Georgia ports are currently handling the highest volume of ad hoc and new service vessels the Port of Savannah has experienced to date.
"Uncertainty around the labor talks, unprecedented and unplanned vessel calls, record cargo volume, and vessel diversions to Savannah have contributed to a higher than normal number of vessels waiting at anchor," it said.
GPA is also experiencing record truck turns during both its day and night-gate operations. Garden City Terminal saw a weekday average of 14,500 truck moves in June, counting both inbound and outbound gate exchanges.
Looking forward, the GPA noted that its Board approved the purchase of US$30.25 million worth of 12 new rubber-tired gantries (RTG) cranes and other container handling equipment at its regular July meeting.
The Port of Savannah already features 198 RTGs, and another 24 were already on order and will bring the fleet to 234 in Savannah.
"Growing our workforce and infrastructure is part of the Board's continuing commitment to keep our deepwater terminals ready to take on new trade," said Joel Wooten, GPA Board chairman.
"Presently, we are expanding our dock space to handle additional big ships and increasing our container storage space in Savannah, while simultaneously enhancing our capabilities to move autos and breakbulk in Brunswick," Wooten added.
In FY2022, export loads accounted for 1.32 million TEUs for GPA, while import loads totaled 2.86 million.
Top exports included forest products, kaolin clay, and automotive cargo. Top import commodities included furniture, machinery, and plastic goods.