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Car carriers berthed at the Port of Brunswick

Photo courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

Port of Brunswick Marks Record Year for Autos as Savannah Container Volumes Decline

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2394
January 30, 2024

The Port of Brunswick set a new record for autos in 2023, while container volumes at the Port of Savannah declined, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Tuesday.

Brunswick Port handled a record 775,565 units of autos and machinery last year, marking a 15.6 percent increase from 2022.

The GPA is investing $262 million in expansion projects, advancing Colonel’s Island to become the leading Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) facility in the U.S. The growth aims to cater to auto manufacturers’ increasing import and export needs and offer flexibility in vehicle storage and movement during seasonal cycles. The expansion involves constructing near-dock warehouses at Colonel’s Island Terminal, developing new processing centers, and planning a new rail yard.

With this growth trajectory, Brunswick Port is on the verge of becoming the busiest Roll-on/Roll-off cargo gateway in the nation, according to Georgia Ports President and CEO, Griff Lynch. “We will be ready to serve this growth with our capital improvement projects underway and available land to expand to demand,” said Lynch.

Meanwhile, the GPA’s container business saw a decline with 422,300 twenty-foot equivalent container units in December, showing a 4 percent or nearly 18,500 TEUs drop compared to December 2022.

The Port of Savannah ended 2023 with a total of 4.9 million TEUs, marking a 16 percent decrease from 2022, largely due to increased inflation and interest rates that slowed consumer spending and led to higher warehouse inventories.

Despite the decline in container business, Lynch is optimistic about investing $4.2bn over the next decade to boost capacity for future needs. In addition to multiple rail projects, the GPA is enhancing its container handling capacity through various projects. These include the improvement of Container Berth 1, which has increased berth capacity by 25%, the addition of eight new ship-to-shore cranes, and the expansion of the Garden City Terminal West, which will add 100 acres and 1 million TEUs of annual capacity.

“With the new year, we are beginning to see renewed strength in container volumes, which should result in more favorable comparisons moving forward the next six months,” said Lynch.

Further, the Mason Mega Rail intermodal facility reported a 10 percent increase in volumes over the first six months of the fiscal year 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. In December, the GPA recorded 45,709 rail lifts, a 20 percent surge from the same period in the prior year. Rail volumes currently account for approximately 20 percent of Savannah’s volumes, while 80 percent is moved by truck.

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