Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Griff Lynch announced plans to double container capacity during the annual State of the Port address Sept. 12.
Port-related expansions and new business accounted for nearly $5 billion in investment and created 12,000 jobs across the state of Georgia during fiscal year 2019, a year in which the Port of Savannah moved a record 4.5 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), GPA reported in a press release distributed at the event.
In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the GPA hit record volumes in containers, total tonnage and cargo moved by rail. At 4.5 million TEUs, the Port of Savannah grew its containerized trade by 7.3%, or 305,000 TEUs.
Total tonnage reached 37.5 million tons, up 1.5 million tons or 4.2%. The port handled 507,000 intermodal boxes, up 73,000, or 17%, year-over-year, the GPA reported.
In 2020, Garden City Terminal will receive six additional ship-to-shore cranes, bringing its fleet to 36, which the GPA said is more than any other terminal in North America. 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 more 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, according to a press release distributed at the event.
The GPA also reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in its final phase of the Savannah Harbor expansion project. It is expected to issue contracts this year to dredge the inner harbor, which makes up the final half of the deepening.
During the event, Lynch also introduced dual rail service from the Port of Savannah to Chicago, with the cargo reaching the Midwest hub in less than three days.