THE Georgia Ports Authority achieved 14 per cent growth in March container throughput, moving 355,208 TEU. For the fiscal year to date (July-March), container trade was up by nine per cent for a record total of 3.08 million TEU at the Port of Savannah.
GPA executive director Griff Lynch said: 'March marked our 17th consecutive month of business expansion thanks, in part, to a strong economy and growing market share.'
Intermodal rail volumes jumped by 20 per cent in March and 15.4 per cent for the fiscal year to date, for a total of 318,454 containers handled over nine months - another record for the GPA.
'As the numbers show, our rail cargo is growing at a faster pace than our overall trade,' GPA chairman Jimmy Allgood said. 'This is important because rail is playing a key role in our responsible growth strategy. We anticipate our rail infrastructure investments to take 250,000 trucks off the road each year by 2020.'
The GPA has just broke ground on its Mason Mega Rail Terminal, on which the port of Savannah will build 10,000-foot unit trains within its own footprint. From the expanded rail infrastructure at Garden City Terminal, CSX and Norfolk Southern will provide direct rail service to major southeast and Midwestern markets from Memphis to St. Louis, Chicago to Cincinnati.
In August, the GPA will open its Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County. Located in an industrial belt, including the production and export of carpet and flooring, automobiles and tires, the ARP will provide an alternative to all-truck transit to northwest Georgia. Each round-trip container moved via the regional port will offset 710 truck miles on Georgia's highways.
March was also a strong month for roll-on/roll-off auto and machinery units at the port of Brunswick and Ocean Terminal in Savannah. Colonel's Island Terminal in Brunswick handled 66,144 cars, trucks and tractors, while Ocean Terminal added 4,050, for a total 70,194, a 17.2 per cent increase.
Mr Lynch added that for the fiscal year to date, Mayor's Point breakbulk terminal in Brunswick grew by 44 per cent (34,515 tons) to reach 112,728 tons of forest products. At East River Terminal, bulk cargo expanded by 34 per cent from July-March (189,918 tons) for a total of 750,384 tons.