SAVANNAH — With nearly 13 percent growth in container traffic over the first two months of the fiscal year, the Georgia Ports Authority has made a strong start to FY2015.
For July and August, the GPA moved 595,711 20-foot equivalent container units, up 12.9 percent, or 68,246 TEUs, compared to the same period last year. Both months set consecutive TEU records, with 293,889 TEUs crossing GPA docks in July and 301,822 TEUs in August. The August number grew by 21,009 TEUs, or 7.5 percent, compared to the same month a year ago. Containers moved by rail also reached record levels in August, at 52,711 TEUs.
“To accommodate growth at these levels, we are taking the necessary steps to expand capacity now,” GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz said. “Infrastructure improvements, which include additional cranes, operational improvements and container storage consolidation, will increase annual throughput capacity from 4.5 million to 6.5 million TEUs.”
At a recent board meeting, the GPA also approved the latest phase of container-storage consolidation, which will add space for additional TEUs at the Garden City Terminal.
“Increasing our capacity means increasing jobs and economic opportunity,” GPA Board Chairman James Walters said. “More cargo moving through our deepwater ports supports growth not only within the transportation sector, but in the community goods and services supported by logistics industry payrolls.”
By 2024, Garden City Terminal will feature some 30 ship-to-shore cranes, up from the current 22, and 169 rubber-tired gantry cranes, Foltz said. The GPA currently employs 116 RTGs to handle shipping containers on terminal.
Foltz noted that at both of Georgia’s deepwater ports in Savannah and Brunswick, there is ample room to grow.
“In Brunswick, we moved more than 674,000 Ro/Ro units last year, but we have enough land permitted for construction to double our Colonels Island operation,” he said.
For the first two months of the fiscal year, Brunswick has experienced a 7.9 percent (3,863-unit) increase in Ro/Ro volumes to reach 57,085 units moved.