GPA plans to expand inland port and build another
GEORGIA Ports Authority (GPA) executive drector Griff Lynch says he plans to add 22 per cent more container storage capacity at its inland distribution terminal in the northwest Georgia town of Chatsworth as Savannah gears up for more export traffic
GEORGIA Ports Authority (GPA) executive drector Griff Lynch says he plans to add 22 per cent more container storage capacity at its inland distribution terminal in the northwest Georgia town of Chatsworth as Savannah gears up for more export traffic.
The proposed US$450,000 initiative, which will be voted on by the GPA board, would add 13 stacks of containers to the Appalachian Regional Port's (ARP) 60 stacks, Mr Lynch told New York's FreightWaves.
The objective is to ensure that companies using the ARP to ship goods by rail from Chatsworth to Savannah have the box capacity to do so, he said.
The inland port is designed to expedite the flow of goods between the state's northwest and Savannah without the need to truck freight through metro Atlanta.
The facility was designed to expand export markets for companies in Georgia and neighbouring states, as well as to facilitate the flow of sea freight imports that clear Savannah and are bound for inland US markets.
Demand has grown rapidly since the inland port opened. According to GPA data, 9,277 TEU moved to and from the facility during the first three months of fiscal 2021, which ended September 30.
That compared to 5,255 TEU in the first three months of fiscal 2020. For GPA's 2020 fiscal year, which ended June 30, box traffic moving to and from the ARP jumped 260 per cent over fiscal 2019 levels. By contrast, growth of traffic moving across the docks stayed flat year on year.
Most of the ARP's growth so far has been on the import side. Mr Lynch said the GPA is pushing for better balance on the lane, which is operated by eastern rail giant CSX.
Within the past week, Georgia Exports, a log exporter based in the coastal city of Springfield, Georgia, has begun shipping the first of 28,000 TEU of logs to Savannah for export to foreign markets, Mr Lynch said.
Chatsworth is GPA's first inland port model. Its second will come after the port authority applies for a federal grant this spring to construct a similar facility in northeast Georgia.
Another inland port facility planned for the west-central Georgia city of LaGrange is currently on the drawing board, Mr Lynch said. That facility, if built, will be financed and operated by private-sector interests though GPA expects to be involved in the operation, he said.