“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," said Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Griff Lynch. "These numbers clearly show that Georgia has the fastest growing and most critical port in the Southeast."
"Savannah is double the size of the next largest port in the region, highlighting Georgia’s growing role as a gateway for American cargo," Lynch added. "Similarly, there is no deepening project more significant in the nation at this time than the Savannah Harbour Expansion Project.”
While the GPA continues to keep its container handling capacity ahead of growth, it does not have its destiny in its own hands when it comes to dredging. Gov. NathanDeal’s proposed 2018 budget for Georgia includes an additional $35M in funding, which would take the state’s total contribution to $301M. The project is not yet fully funded at the federal level, however.
The strong performance will help Georgia state leaders pushing for the US Federal Government to allocate funds, including $100M for the 2019 fiscal year.
"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 GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "Our federal delegation to Washington also deserves our appreciation for their tireless work in support of Savannah’s harbour expansion."
The GPA noted that exports outpaced imports in December. “Loaded export boxes rose by 13.3 percent, while loaded import containers grew at a rate of 11.2% year over year. Of 323,117 TEUs in December cargo, export TEUs accounted for 52% of trade for the month, while imports were 48%”.
The GPA also reported strong growth in its intermodal volume, rising 18.8% to 65,000 TEU in December. It plans to start work on a major rail configuration, called the “Mason Mega Rail terminal”, in spring. This will double the Garden City Terminal’s rail lift capacity to 1M containers per year when completed in 2020.
The GPA Board has also approved a $3.5M project to update four of its older STS cranes to operate with greater speed and efficiency. WorldCargo News understands the drive upgrade will be performed by TMEIC.