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The Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

The Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal courtesy Georgia Ports Authority

Retail Strength Drives Container Volume Growth at Port of Savannah

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 983
June 17, 2024

The Port of Savannah has witnessed significant growth in container volumes due to a strengthening retail market and an influx of new customers.

In May, the Georgia Ports Authority handled 490,330 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), marking a 22% increase or an addition of nearly 90,000 TEUs compared to the same period last year and 11% improvement from April.

GPA President and CEO, Griff Lynch, attributed the surge to increased orders by major retail customers and a rise in trade among Tier 1 suppliers.

“Major retail customers tell Georgia Ports they have increased their orders to rebuild inventories and to meet rising consumer demand,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “Additionally, we’ve seen an increase in trade among Tier 1 suppliers for the new Hyundai Meta Plant, which also added to our May container volumes.”

Despite reports of congestion at other ports in the Southeast U.S, Lynch assured that Savannah remains free from congestion. He also said is benefitting from source shifting, as more manufacturers set up production facilities in Southeast Asian locations that prefer delivery via Savannah.

The Port of Savannah has seen increased container trade every month so far in 2024, compared to 2023. June is also expected to maintain this positive trend with over 320,000 TEUs of import cargo destined for Savannah currently on the water, Lynch said.

The National Retail Federation anticipates a significant rise in inbound cargo volume at major container ports in the U.S. this summer, the highest in nearly two years, driven by increased consumer spending and retailers stocking up to meet demand.

The NRF anticipates that total U.S. retail import volumes for the first half of 2024 will reach 12.1 million TEUs, marking a 15% increase from the same period last year. The rise comes as the NRF is also forecasting a 2.5% to 3.5% growth in 2024 retail sales over 2023, focusing on core retail and excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants.

For the calendar year to date, the GPA has managed 2.2 million TEUs in total cargo, marking a 12.7% increase over the same period in 2023.

The Port of Savannah has handled 770 vessels for the calendar year through May, marking an increase of 36 compared to the same period last year. In other developments, the Appalachian Regional Port reported a record May, with the inland rail terminal moving 3,600 containers. The Garden City Terminal at the Port of Savannah moved 44,000 forty-foot boxes by rail last month, an increase of 2% or 900 containers.

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