Port of Savannah box volumes slip nearly 10pc in May due to Covid-19

CONTAINER throughput at the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal dropped 9

01 July 2020 - 19:00

CONTAINER throughput at the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal dropped 9.7 per cent in May as a result of Covid-19 impacts with 337,359 TEU moving during the month, which was a decrease of 36,000 TEU compared to the same month a year ago.

'It was much better than we expected, but still certainly not where we want to be,' Georgia Ports Authority executive director Griff Lynch said during the board's monthly meeting, adding that ocean carriers continue to void sailings at an unprecedented rate.

'May was the hardest hit thus far with 39 voids, or 22 per cent of budgeted ship calls. June is not much better with 29 voids planned, so thankfully our records prior to Covid have helped reduce the impacts of downward trends over the last three months.'

Mr Lynch said while the voided sailings are getting better, they remain a moving target for now. 'We see them getting a little bit better each month, but that could change so that the carriers are slowly, but surely re-implementing services,' he said.

'They have planned voids in July and August, but it's really too early to tell. Until you get closer, you won't really know what the real game plan is for the ocean carriers.'

For the fiscal year to date, GPA's container trade is slightly behind its FYTD2019 performance, at 4.1 million TEU, a decrease of 18,670 TEU or 0.5 per cent. Total cargo for the period from July 2019 through May 2020 reached 34.7 million tonnes, an increase of nearly 350,000 tonnes or 1 per cent.

At the GPA's Colonel's Island Terminal in Brunswick, autos were off 77 per cent for the month, which represents a 5 per cent decline for the year. Mr Lynch said the auto sector was one of the hardest hit by the virus and continues to be a challenge. He said the decline in auto sales and voided vessel calls - which led to a less robust supply chain along with the decline in the workforce - all contributed to the decline.

'Obviously demand is going to be the driver, and typically in the US auto sales in the US$17 million to $18 million mark per year, and I think many experts see that dropping down, quite frankly - hopefully, not to the level we just realised in May,' he said.

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