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Container vessel approaching the terminal at the Port of Savannah, Georgia

Container vessel approaching the terminal at the Port of Savannah, Georgia. Photo credit: Ungureanu Catalina Oana / Shutterstock.com

Containers Fall as Ro-Ro and Rail Volumes Rise at Port of Savannah

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1231
September 26, 2023

The Port of Savannah handled 413,300 TEUs in August, down 28 percent from August 2022, the Georgia Ports Authority’s busiest month on record. However, Roll-on/Roll-off cargo saw an 8% increase, and rail volumes increased by 6%.

“We are in the midst of rebuilding some of our berths which has reduced our operating capacity in August. Container Berth 1 renovation is now complete with four new cranes operating. We have four more new crane installations almost done and ready by end of the year which will add another big berth. At Ocean Terminal, our refurbishment is ongoing and will add another big ship berth in the 2025-2026 period,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch.

Last month, the Port of Savannah experienced an 8 percent increase in Roll-on/Roll-off cargo, handling 61,300 units of autos and machinery. The majority of this trade was handled by the Colonel’s Island Terminal at the Port of Brunswick, which moved 59,720 units.

The Georgia Ports Authority’s “Megarail” terminal is driving growth in rail volumes at the Port of Savannah, with rail now accounting for 21% of vessel lifts. In August, the Garden City Terminal handled 49,115 containers (around 89,000 TEUs), a 6% increase from the previous year. Intermodal cargo represented 21.6% of total containers, reflecting a 7% increase compared to August 2022.

“With our Mason Mega Rail Terminal fully operational, we now have the capacity to shift more of our long-haul cargo off state highways and onto rail, which both improves fuel efficiency and reduces traffic congestion,” said Lynch.

Georgia Ports and CSX have partnered to provide daily rail departures between the Port of Savannah and CCX Yard in North Carolina, aiming to attract more cargo transiting the Panama Canal with faster transit times.

The GPA predicts that population and manufacturing growth in the U.S. Southeast, along with the ‘China plus one’ shift in sourcing to countries like India, will lead to increased delivery of goods through the Port of Savannah. Its strategic location as the first/last port of call from the Panama Canal and access to Suez Canal routings also provides customers with multiple market options.

“GPA’s goal is to create the best port and supply chain location to accelerate global business and connect world markets,” said GPA Chairman Kent Fountain at the Sept. 26th quarterly board meeting in Savannah. “We’re adding new infrastructure and inland connectivity to achieve this in our $1.9 billion port master plan. The state of Georgia’s leadership, GPA and the business community work together to make GPA a truly integrated port and supply chain ecosystem.”

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