Photo courtesy Port of Savannah

Port of Savannah Cargo Volumes Hit Record 5.9 Million TEUs in 2022

Mike Schuler
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January 17, 2023

The Port of Savannah, billed as the fastest growing container terminal in the U.S., handled a record 5.9 million TEUs in 2022 for an increase of 5% over 2021, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Tuesday.

“It was a challenging year, but collaborative effort across Georgia’s supply chain ensured cargo movement remained fluid,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.

The Port of Savannah last year benefitted from an acceleration of the eastward shift of cargo volumes, due to West Coast port labor negotiations, that has been happening since the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016. You can see the eastward shift (i.e. West Coast ports’ declining market share of inbound U.S. container volumes) in the graph below provided by industry veteran John McCown in his latest Container Volume Observer ports report:

Credit: John McCown/Blue Alpha Capital

In Calendar Year 2022, the Port of Savannah achieved four of its top five months for container volume in CY2022, with trade volumes peaking in August at an all-time high of 575,500 TEUs.

For comparison, the Port of Savannah’s 2021 volumes were up 20% compared to 2020, when the port handled 4.6 million TEUs, and 2020 was up 1.8 percent over its 2019 total of 4.59 million.

Capacity Expansion

With the renovation of Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal to handle 16,000+ TEU vessels, the 90-acre Garden City Terminal West expansion and the transition of Ocean Terminal to an all-container facility, the Port of Savannah is set to increase annual capacity from 6 million to 7.5 million TEUs in 2023, and to 9 million by 2025.

“We’re excited about the possibilities ahead, with major infrastructure projects delivering greater capacity and efficiency for our customers,” said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten. “At Georgia Ports, we’re bringing to market faster vessel service, quicker turn times for trucks and more room to grow business.”

In addition to record container cargo in 2022, GPA achieved a 16% increase in breakbulk tonnage to nearly 3.3 million tons last year, an improvement of 443,000 tons compared to 2021. In Roll-on/Roll-off cargo, Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick handled 651,101 units of autos and heavy machinery. Ocean Terminal in Savannah moved another 19,630 Ro/Ro units, for a total of 670,731, an increase of 0.4 percent.

Total tonnage crossing all GPA docks reached 42.4 million tons last year, an increase of about 2 percent or nearly 760,000 tons.

“I want to thank our Board for approving new infrastructure that allowed us to handle more cargo. Our gratitude also goes out to GPA employees and our partners at Gateway International, the International Longshoremen’s Association, trucking and rail. Their long hours and dedication were key to our success,” said Lynch.

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