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Georgia’s ports had one of their busiest months ever in April

Nation’s brisk retail activity boosting port volumes

April was a busy month for Georgia Ports Authority. (Photo: Shutterstock/Mariusz Bugno)

April was the third-busiest month in the history of the Georgia Ports Authority, with the Port of Savannah handling 495,782 twenty-foot equivalent container units. The volumes also were a record for the month of April.

Container volumes rose 6.2% in April year-over-year as retailers sought to replenish depleted inventories while also making new orders to ensure product availability. GPA said that activity has contributed to Garden City Terminal now handling nearly one out of every nine loaded containers at U.S. docks.

Since the start of the 2022 fiscal year last July, GPA has handled 4.75 million containers, an 8% increase compared with the same period in 2020 and 2021.

“Our long-running program of infrastructure expansion, coupled with the authority’s ability as an owner-operator to speed up the schedule of development, has allowed the Port of Savannah to adapt to heightened container volumes,” said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten in a Tuesday release. “On-terminal and inland capacity improvements enable cargo to flow across our docks without congestion.”

GPA’s board approved a number of capacity improvement projects Tuesday, including the replacement of a 50,000-square-foot cargo shed at Mayor’s Point Terminal in Brunswick, Georgia, with a new 100,000-square-foot warehouse that will be able to handle heavy cargoes.

GPA also provided updates on other projects:

  • Renovations to container berth 1 at Garden City Terminal are more than 40% complete. These renovations will increase annual berth capacity by 1.4 million TEUs and enable an additional big ship berth served by new ship-to-shore cranes. June 2023 is the target date for completion.
  • Nine new electric rubber-tired gantry cranes are expected to be brought online in the spring of 2023. 
  • The peak capacity project has added 900,000 TEUs of annual container yard capacity to Garden City Terminal, with another 300,000 TEUs anticipated to come online by July. 
  • The first phase of the Garden City Terminal West project will add a 25-acre chassis yard adjacent to Georgia state Route 21. Construction should be complete by midsummer.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.