The Port of Savannah’s container throughput volume grew nearly 18 percent in February as imports continue to shift east, away from congested West Coast ports.
During a board meeting, GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch reported the Port of Savannah moved 460,413 TEUs in February, an increase of 69,610 TEUs over last year. February now extends year-over-year increases to 19 consecutive months for the Georgia Ports Authority.
To better accommodate growth, the GPA Board has now expedited more than $538 million in capacity expansion projects initially anticipated years into the future.
“Today’s action by the board will result in an unprecedented expansion, ensuring our ability to implement flexible solutions to meet our customers’ evolving needs,” said Lynch. “This growth plan is part of an overall strategy to enhance operations, accommodate increased demand, and deliver the world-class service and reliability that have become synonymous with GPA.”
Amid the sustained increase in cargo volumes, Georgia Ports will make major investments in both Brunswick and Savannah, increasing the Port of Savannah’s annual capacity from the current 6 million to 9.5 million TEUs by 2025.
GPA will develop 85 additional acres, which will include vehicle processing facilities at the Port of Brunswick. The new pavement and buildings are slated to be complete in 2023, significantly increasing capacity. Colonel’s Island Terminal has another 355 acres permitted for development.
The board has also given the go-ahead to the Garden City Terminal West expansion, which Lynch designated a “permanent pop-up yard” – a reference to the six temporary yards GPA has established at inland markets. The project adds 90 acres of container storage, a truck gate, and rubber-tired gantry cranes to serve the Garden City Terminal, increasing Savannah’s annual capacity by 1 million TEUs in phases through 2023 and 2024.
“With the completion of the Savannah Harbor deepening, we have the water depth to more easily accommodate big ships,” Lynch said. “Our current projects will complement the harbor expansion by giving us the landside capacity we need to handle larger container volumes.”
The board also agreed to order seven new ship-to-shore cranes for the Port of Savannah. Along with a previous eight-crane order in November 2020, this will bring Savannah’s fleet to 42.
“Considering the ambitious slate of work we have set to expand our operations, customers can confidently build GPA into their immediate and long-term growth plans,” said Joel Wooten, GPA board chairman. “Our berth and terminal capacity improvements further strengthen Georgia’s position as the gateway to the U.S. Southeast and beyond.”
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