The Port of Brunswick handled a record 775,565 units of autos and machinery in the calendar year 2023, an increase of 15.6% over the previous year.
Kent Fountain, chairman of the GPA Board, said this is thanks to the port's auto and heavy machinery customers, processors and ILA partners.
GPA said its investments of US$262 million and acreage to expand will make Colonel's Island the premier Ro/Ro facility in the US, enabling auto manufacturers and opportunity to meet their growing import and export needs and flexibility in their storage and movement of vehicles during seasonal cycles.
It added that this expansion includes near-dock warehousing serving auto & machinery processing at Colonel's Island Terminal with three new warehouses built and more new processing centers finishing later this year, 122 acres of new Roll-on/Roll-off cargo storage space, a fourth Ro/Ro berth in the engineering phase and a new rail yard planned.
"At its current rate of growth, the Port of Brunswick is poised to become the nation's busiest gateway for Roll-on/Roll-off cargo," said Griff Lynch, president and CEO of Georgia Ports.
"We will be ready to serve this growth with our capital improvement projects underway and available land to expand to demand," he added.
Lower year-on-year container volumes
In the container business, the Georgia Ports Authority handled 422,300 twenty-foot equivalent container units in December, down 4% or nearly 18,500 TEUs compared to the same month in 2022.
The Port of Savannah ended 2023 with a total of 4.9 million TEUs, a decrease of 16% compared to 2022.
GPA noted that higher inflation rates and interest rates slowed consumer spending, resulting in higher inventories in warehouses.
"We are using this time to invest in capacity for future needs. Georgia Ports Authority is committed to investing US$4.2 billion in the next ten years. With the new year, we are beginning to see renewed strength in container volumes, which should result in more favourable comparisons moving forward the next six months," Lynch added.
GPA said its Mason Mega Rail intermodal facility is growing volumes with a 10% increase through the first six months of fiscal year 2024 compared to fiscal year 2023.
In December, GPA had 45,709 rail lifts which is 20% higher than the same period the previous year.
Rail volumes represent approximately 20% of Savannah's volumes, with 80% moved by truck.
Motor carriers are the largest users of the port, and GPA is fortunate to have a strong truck driver capacity community to serve customers via multiple gates as part of the Port of Savannah's easy-to-use, one terminal model.
GPA noted its other capacity-building projects, which include the Mason Mega Rail to create the largest on-dock rail facility in the Western Hemisphere; the Blue Ridge Connector, an inland rail terminal in Gainesville, GA, linking Northeast Georgia with the Port of Savannah's 37 weekly vessel calls; and the Carolina Connector rail service.
GPA will also build an improved Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal, re-opened in July 2023, increasing berth capacity by 25% or 1.5 million TEUs; new ship-to-shore cranes; and the Garden City Terminal West, among others.