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GPA paving way for more vehicles at Port of Brunswick

$150 million project will allow Georgia terminal to handle additional 200,000 autos annually

The Port of Brunswick moved 650,000 units of vehicles and heavy machinery in 2021, a 10% year-over-year increase. (Photo: Stephen Morton/Georgia Ports Authority)

The Georgia Ports Authority is adding a fourth berth at the Port of Brunswick, 85 acres for more auto processing and 360,000 square feet of warehousing in a $150 million project. 

“We’re expanding berth and terminal capacity at both Colonel’s Island and Mayor’s Point so that we are ready to take on additional trade,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said during last week’s Brunswick State of the Port event. “The investments we are making will lay the groundwork for job growth and new opportunity in the Brunswick region.” 

The new berth, which was recently approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will include a concrete deck and system of mooring dolphins extending roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vessel berthing space from 3,355 feet to 4,630 feet. Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2022 and take two years to complete.

The GPA said the Port of Brunswick is the second-busiest U.S. hub for ro-ro cargo, behind only Baltimore. The port moved 650,000 units of vehicles and heavy machinery in 2021, a 10% increase year-over-year. The additional acreage will increase the Colonel’s Island terminal’s annual capacity from 1.2 million to 1.4 million vehicles. 

“Home to more than 20 automaker brands, Colonel’s Island is poised to become the Southeast’s premier autoport,” said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten. 

The $150 million project also will include upgrading near-dock storage areas to better accommodate heavy machinery used in agriculture, construction and warehousing operations. The new pavement and buildings are slated for completion in 2023. 

The Port of Brunswick also is touted for its breakbulk terminal. The GPA reported last week that terminal operator Logistec handled 902,000 tons of bulk cargo in 2021 at the East River Terminal. Mayor’s Point handled 88,380 tons of forest products last year.

“In the coming years, Georgia’s posture as the No. 1 state for forestry and as a global leader in the automotive industry — for automakers of both combustion and noncombustion engines — will continue to strengthen, and I’m confident given the exemplary leadership and hardworking Georgians who keep cargo moving that the Port of Brunswick will continue to be a driving force behind the Peach State’s success,” said Gov. Brian P. Kemp. 

One unheralded milestone for the Port of Brunswick in 2021 was the removal of an eyesore, the wreckage of the Golden Ray, after more than two years in St. Simons Sound. The ro-ro vessel capsized in September 2019 while transiting outbound from the Port of Brunswick. The final piece of wreckage was hauled away by barge in late October.  

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.