The South Atlantic port handled its highest volumes ever of containers in 2017 at over 4 million TEUs, an 11 percent increase from 2016.
The Port of Savannah handled more than 4 million TEUs in 2017, an increase of 11 percent from 2016 and the port’s highest amount ever, while total trade for 2017 grew 12 percent to 35 million tons, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced Monday.
“This is the first time we’ve handled more than 4 million TEUs in a 12-month period, which is an important milestone for Savannah,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said at the port authority’s board meeting Monday. “These numbers clearly show that Georgia has the fastest growing and most critical port in the Southeast.”
For the month of December, GPA handled 323,000 TEUs, a 10.6 percent increase compared to December 2016, for the busiest December in GPA’s history. Container exports outpaced imports, with loaded export boxes rising 13.3 percent year-over-year compared to import container growth of 11.2 percent year-over-year.
Container tons handled at the port totaled 2.48 million in December, an increase of 14.3 percent compared to the same month in 2016.
For the year, total container tonnage reached 30.04 million tons, of which 52.6 percent was export cargo and 47.4 percent was import cargo.
In addition, Garden City Terminal’s intermodal business improved by 18.8 percent to nearly 65,000 TEUs in December. The port has plans to break ground on the new Mason Mega Rail terminal in early spring. – a project that will double Garden City Terminal’s rail lift capacity to one million containers per year.
“What sets Savannah apart is its ability to grow capacity, increase cargo and do it in an efficient manner without congestion,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “Our team at Georgia Ports, along with our logistics partners in Savannah and Brunswick, have truly pulled together to achieve great things. We will continue to do so as the GPA improves its infrastructure to take on new business.”
As part of the authority’s ongoing effort to expand capacity, the board approved a $3.5 million expenditure to update port infrastructure. Four neo-Panamax cranes were received by the port in 2017 and another six will arrive in 2020. Another $35 million was authorized by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for additional support for the deepening of the Savannah River. Currently, there are three dredges working in the Savannah River and the project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2021.
“We’d like to thank the governor and General Assembly for their full and complete support of the state share of the project, and we look forward to seeing the federal match with the upcoming release of the President’s budget and the appropriations process,” said Allgood. “Our federal delegation to Washington also deserves our appreciation for their tireless work in support of Savannah’s harbor expansion.”