- By J. Scott Trubey The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Georgia Ports Authority on Monday said business surged through its facilities last month, marking the best-ever April by tonnage for the agency’s terminals.
The authority said it loaded and unloaded more than 333,000 TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent container units, last month, up 11.7 percent from the same month a year ago. By tonnage, the ports’ total grew by 13 percent to 2.94 million tons, the authority said.
“The strength of the overall economy is the driver,” Jimmy Allgood, chairman of the ports authority board, said in an interview.
The figures from April do not include the visit earlier this month of a record-breaking ship for Savannah. On May 11-12, the Cosco Development, the largest container ship to ever call on the East Coast, docked at the Garden City Terminal in an operation involving the movement of 5,500 containers or more than 9,700 TEUs.
The Development’s visit in May marked a new record for container movements for the Savannah port, and Savannah was one of three East Coast ports that received the mammoth vessel.
April’s stats included 187,000 container lifts, the second-best month for the ports overall.
“What we’re really happy about is that figure is true organic growth,” said Griff Lynch, the ports’ executive director, citing container volume growth from larger ships passing through the expanded Panama Canal.
The ports said total refrigerated cargo — including food stuffs such as poultry, peanuts and blueberries — increased 8.2 percent in April compared to the same month in 2016.
Automotive and machinery containers are up 3.5 percent through the first four months of 2017 compared to the same period a year ago.
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