Port of Savannah's box handling capacity to be doubled to 11m TEU per annum

THE Georgia Ports Authority has unveiled plans to double the annual container handling capacity of the Garden City Terminal to 11 million TEU, up from the current 5

17 September 2019 - 19:00

THE Georgia Ports Authority has unveiled plans to double the annual container handling capacity of the Garden City Terminal to 11 million TEU, up from the current 5.5 million TEU.

Furthermore, port-related announcements of expansions and new business accounted for US$5 billion in investment and 12,000 jobs across the state of Georgia in fiscal year 2019, which saw the port of Savannah's container volumes rise 7.3 per cent year on year to reach a record 4.5 million TEU.

In the fiscal year that ended in June, total tonnage reached 37.5 million, up 4.2 per cent. The port handled 507,000 intermodal boxes, up 17 per cent compared to the previous year.

'The market has clearly chosen the port of Savannah as the southeastern hub for containerised trade,' said GPA executive director Griff Lynch. 'To fulfil the growing responsibility placed on our deepwater terminals, we have developed a plan to double our capacity.'

Speaking to an audience of 1,400 at the Savannah State of the Port, Mr Lynch also revealed that the GPA plans to expand beyond its 1,200-acre footprint at Garden City Terminal to establish a new container port on Hutchinson Island, across the Savannah River channel. The 200-acre Georgia site sits directly across from Ocean Terminal in Savannah. It will have an annual capacity of 2.5 million TEU.

Mr Lynch said the influx of cargo crossing Savannah's docks is also driving an extraordinary level of development from private investors. In FY2019, developers added 10.75 million square feet of industrial space in the Savannah market for a total of 67.7 million square feet, an increase of 19 per cent.

'Savannah is an incredibly hot market right now,' Mr Lynch said. 'Business has been flowing into this area in such volume that with all that construction, our vacancy rate dropped to 1.5 per cent. Savannah has achieved the highest absorption rate in the nation.'

Upcoming terminal enhancements include the Garden City Terminal receiving six additional ship-to-shore cranes in 2020, bringing its fleet to 36. Mr Lynch said GPA plans continual upgrades to its crane fleet, which will include 12 new cranes with a lift height of 170 feet by 2027.

Within three years, the GPA plans a berth realignment to allow docking for 14,000-TEU vessels on the downriver end of Garden City Terminal. By 2027, the additional cranes, revamped dock space and a new Hutchinson Island terminal will allow the port of Savannah to significantly increase big ship capacity.

Additionally, the US Army Corps of Engineers is now in the final phase of the Savannah harbour expansion project. The Corps is expected to issue contracts this year to dredge the inner harbour, which makes up the final half of the deepening.

To handle the growing container trade crossing Garden City Terminal and to attract additional business, the GPA is expanding its rail infrastructure and offerings. Mr Lynch introduced dual rail service from the port of Savannah to Chicago, with cargo reaching the windy city in less than three days.

'Our expanding offerings with Norfolk Southern and CSX to the Midwest will be a game changer in the growth of cargo at the port of Savannah,' Mr Lynch said. 'We're now moving containers from ship to departing rail in only 24 hours - two and a half times faster than our previous schedule - which makes Savannah competitive on time and lower on cost compared to traditional cargo routings.'


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