Rail cargo leaps 30 percent in three years
Savannah, GA — The Georgia Ports Authority is on track to exceed 4.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units for the first time in a calendar year.
That level of trade would be a 14 percent increase over volumes moved through Savannah just three years ago, or an additional 550,000 TEUs. Over the same period, the Authority has increased the annual capacity at the Port of Savannah from 5 million to 5.5 million TEUs.
“Through incredible teamwork from the GPA and the ILA on the docks, to the motor carriers and Class I railroads, and to our partners throughout the supply chain, Georgia has managed to create a powerful hub for commerce that is creating jobs and economic opportunity in every corner of the state,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.
Lynch said to keep cargo flowing, GPA is adding cranes, container rows, truck gates and intermodal capacity.
With the first phase of GPA’s Mason Mega Rail project opening this spring, cargo moved by rail has grown twice as fast as the Authority’s overall three-year growth rate in container trade. Over the first 10 months of the year, intermodal volumes expanded by 30 percent, compared to the same period in 2017. The port handled 427,891 rail containers through October, up 98,835 over volumes from three years ago. The new Mason Mega Rail terminal will double Savannah’s on-port rail capacity to 1 million containers per year.
“Exciting new business opportunities such as the export of the Georgia-made Kia Telluride, and resins produced in Pennsylvania and the Gulf States, as well as the import of cold-treated fresh produce, are driving the increase in trade through our deepwater ports,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “The speed and efficiency of our terminal operations, as well as our connectivity via road and rail make Georgia the best choice for reliable supply chain services.”
For the calendar year-to-date through October, the GPA moved 3.88 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 222,800 TEUs or 6 percent, year over year.
Total tonnage crossing all GPA terminals reached 32.5 million tons January through October, up 4 percent over 2018, or 1.21 million tons, including containerized, bulk and breakbulk cargo. The Port of Savannah is handling the highest volumes of any container terminal in the U.S. Southeast, moving as many as 8,000 TEUs per ship.
In Roll-on/Roll-off cargo, Colonel’s Island Terminal at the Port of Brunswick handled 500,512 units of cars, trucks and tractors from January through October. Ocean Terminal in Savannah added another 37,476 for a total of 537,988 units. Total Ro/Ro trade is up for the year by 3,300 units. Georgia is the second busiest U.S. hub for the import-export of Ro/Ro cargo behind only Baltimore.
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.