24-Hour Operations Return to United States’ Second-Busiest Auto Port

Photo courtesy Golden Ray Unified Command

Vessel traffic at Georgia Port Authority’s Port of Brunswick has returned to 24-hour operations for the first time since the Golden Ray vehicle carrier overturned while departing the port back in early September.

“Reopening the Port of Brunswick to around-the-clock transit means greater flexibility for the shipping lines that call on Brunswick, and more timely service for auto manufacturers and other cargo owners,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “We want to thank the Coast Guard, the Brunswick Pilots and all of our partners who have worked tirelessly to bring us to this point.”

The Unified Command overseeing the response reported that 24-hour operations were restored last Thursday, November 24. Restrictions, however, continue to limit the shipping channel to one-way traffic for inbound and outbound commercial.

“We appreciate the continuing partnership with the Georgia Ports Authority, Brunswick Port and Moran Towing,” said Commander Norm Witt, Federal On Scene Coordinator. “While removing the M/V Golden Ray will take time, minimizing the impact of this incident on the community and protecting the environment are priorities for the Unified Command.”

The Golden Ray was carrying about 4,200 vehicles when it lost stability and grounded in St. Simons Sound as it departed the Port of Brunswick on September 8. Due to the condition of the vessel, the salvage plan requires the lengthy disassembling of the vessel on-site in the sound. Recently, salvage crew have placed a bed of rocks around the wreck to stabilize the vessel from corrosion.

Georgia Ports Authority’s Port of Brunswick is the second busiest auto port in the United States with total annual capacity of 800,000 vehicles. In 2017, the port handled some 607,000 units of Ro/Ro cargo, according to the GPA’s website.