The Port of Savannah had its third busiest month on record in April, handling just shy of 500,000 TEUs as it continues work to expand capacity.
April throughput came in at 495,782 twenty-foot equivalent container units last month, a record for the month of April and the Georgia Ports Authority’s third busiest month ever.
GPA’s containerized trade increased 6.2 percent, or 29,150 TEUs in April, compared to the same month a year ago.
The port said the growth is related in part to retailers replenishing depleted inventories and making early orders to ensure product availability. For the fiscal year to date, GPA has handled 4.75 million TEUs, an improvement of 8 percent or 344,260 TEUs year over year. GPA’s Garden City Terminal now handles nearly one out of every nine loaded containers crossing the nation’s docks.
“The phenomenal growth we have achieved has been made possible by the team effort of GPA and Gateway Terminals employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association, and our partners in trucking and rail,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Their hard work has ensured the free flow of cargo between major markets across the U.S. Southeast and the world.”
The Port of Savannah handled a record 5.6 million TEUs in 2021 amid the pandemic-fueled import boom. Amid the sustained increase in cargo volumes, the GPA has expedited more than $538 million in capacity expansion projects, initially anticipated years into the future, to better accommodate for the growth. Major investments in both Brunswick and Savannah are expected to increase the Port of Savannah’s annual capacity from the current 6 million to 9.5 million TEUs by 2025.
Savannah was also recently ranked the top U.S. container port by loaded export volume, handling 1.38 million TEUs in Calendar Year 2021.
“Our long-running program of infrastructure expansion, coupled with the Authority’s ability as an owner-operator to speed up the schedule of development, has allowed the Port of Savannah to adapt to heightened container volumes,” said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten. “On-terminal and inland capacity improvements enable cargo to flow across our docks without congestion.”
The latest figures from the Port of Savannah showed just three ships at anchor waiting for a berth, down from around 30 during peak congestion last Fall.
The GPA has provided the following update on port improvement projects to increase capacity:
Capacity Improvement Update
- On Tuesday, the Board approved a measure to replace a 50,000 square-foot cargo shed at Mayor’s Point Terminal in Brunswick with a new, 100,000 square-foot warehouse with up-to-date life safety improvements and flooring upgrades to handle heavy cargoes.
- The renovations to Container Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal are more than 40 percent complete. The realigned CB-1 will increase annual berth capacity by 1.4 million TEUs and provide an additional big ship berth served by new ship-to-shore cranes. Substantial completion is expected in June 2023.
- The Authority expects to bring online nine new electric rubber-tired gantry cranes by the spring of 2023. This will bring the Port of Savannah’s total RTG fleet to 207.
- The Peak Capacity Project has added 900,000 TEUs of annual container yard capacity to Garden City Terminal as of April 13. Another 300,000 TEUs of capacity are expected to come online by July.
- Phase I of the Garden City Terminal West project will add a 25-acre chassis yard adjacent to Ga. 21. Grading and placement of aggregate base are ongoing, with the contractor having turned over approximately 10 acres of space for use in February. Construction should be complete by mid-summer.
- Phase II of the Garden City Terminal West project will add a total of 1 million TEUs of annual capacity, with the first phase coming online in 2023.
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