Savannah and Brunswick ports set record for fiscal year


The Georgia Ports Authority said Monday it broke a new record in the number of shipping containers it moved in the past fiscal year, buoyed by what its executive director described as organic growth as well as new business from larger ships plying the waters of the East Coast.

The authority moved 3.85 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) container units in the 12 months ended in June, up 6.7 percent from the prior year. But the growth in container traffic was particularly strong from January to June, when traffic grew 11.6 percent at the Savannah port over the same six months a year ago.

Backers say the growth fuels the economy in metro Atlanta, a key distribution point for many of the goods flowing in and out via the port.

The GPA operates the Savannah and Brunswick ports as well as inland facilities.

In response to growth, the ports board approved nearly $73 million for the purchase of six new Neopanamax cranes to go along with four others recently acquired. The cranes are a bet on what the ports authority believes will be a continued shift to ever-larger freighters entering its facilities.

“Our volume growth continues to outpace forecasted demand,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said in a news release. “Shipping lines are moving 13,000- and 14,000-TEU vessels into service on the East Coast more quickly than anticipated, and concentrating their deliveries at efficient gateway ports like Savannah.”

He said the crane purchase, along with four already on order, will enable GPA to increase crane capacity by nearly 40 percent.

“Our customers are choosing to use Savannah and Georgia as a gateway to the Southeast,” Lynch said in an interview. The Savannah port was one of a handful of Eastern ports to be paid visits by the two largest container ships to ever dock on the East Coast.

“When the ocean carriers realigned their services Savannah has been a beneficiary of that,” he said.

The volume gain comes as work continues on a massive, nearly $1 billion channel-deepening project aimed at keeping the Savannah port competitive. 

Savannah port backers were disappointed when federal authorities did not provide the deepening project with as much discretionary funds as expected in the most recent federal budget. But Lynch said that project is continuing without delay.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter J. Scott Trubey keeps you updated on the latest news about economic development and commercial real estate in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dead at 80
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dead at 80

Kofi Annan, a diplomat from Ghana who served as UN Secretary-General for nine years and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, died early Saturday, CNN reported. He was 80. >> Read more trending news  Annan died in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland. Reuters reported. Annan was the seventh Secretary-General, serving from 1997 to 2006...
Tow truck driver charged after hauling pizza delivery car away with boy, 11, inside 
Tow truck driver charged after hauling pizza delivery car away with boy, 11, inside 

An Illinois tow truck driver was charged after he hauled away a pizza delivery car while a 11-year-old boy with Down syndrome was inside the vehicle, WLS reported. >> Read more trending news  Brian Clark, 52, of Bensenville, was charged with endangerment of a child and reckless conduct. He was released on bond Friday evening, the television...
Woman arrested after trying to break into Seattle home through dog door
Woman arrested after trying to break into Seattle home through dog door

A Seattle couple told police that a woman broke into their home through a dog door.  The attempted break-in was caught on surveillance cameras. The couple said they were at home when they saw a car pull up next to their driveway. Hours later the car was still there. Then the couple noticed the woman who was in the car was trying to break into...
Trial delayed for suspect in central Florida school shooting
Trial delayed for suspect in central Florida school shooting

The trial for a 19-year-old Florida man accused of firing a shotgun inside a Marion County high school has been postponed. It was supposed to start Monday, but the defense said it needed more time. >> Read more trending news  In April, a school resource officer inside Forest High School in Ocala arrested Sky Bouche minutes...
Texas sheriff department's newest cruiser funded by seized drug money
Texas sheriff department's newest cruiser funded by seized drug money

A Texas sheriff’s department is showing off its newest cruiser and thanking an unlikely source, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  In a tweet, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said the vehicle was funded by seized drug money. The department shared a photo on Twitter of a decal on the cruiser that reads &ldquo...
More Stories