SAVANNAH, Ga. — Larger vessels and additional container services calling at Georgia's ports coupled with a positive economic forecast ushered in an all-time record month for container volume.
The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) handled 350,104 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in May, 11.68 percent more TEUs compared to the same month a year ago, or 35,619 additional TEUs.
“It's evident shipping lines are deploying larger vessels and cargo exchanges through the Panama Canal to Georgia's ports,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “This is a strong indicator that an important market share shift to Georgia is possible through recently restructured shipping services.”
Garden City Terminal received 1,676 vessel calls between July 2016 and May 2017, of which 454 transited the expanded Panama Canal. This led to a 16 percent increase in throughput during that 11-month period via the Panama Canal at Garden City Terminal, stated a Ports Authority news release.
Lynch said the recent calls of 13,000-plus TEU vessels — the COSCO Development and OOCL France — demonstrate how efficiently larger vessels are served by the GPA.
He noted the vessels play to the strengths of Garden City's single terminal operation, which include a 1,200-acre complex, 26 ship-to-shore cranes, nine container berths and on-terminal service by two Class I rail providers.
These advantages at Garden City Terminal allowed crews to move more than 19,000 TEUs from these two 13,000-plus TEU vessels, which called the Port of Savannah just 21 days apart.
“The GPA's continued on-terminal investment along with the state of Georgia's off-terminal improvements will allow GPA to serve vessels well beyond 13,000 TEUs,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood.
On April 1, shipping lines realigned to form massive alliances.
These new rotations signal more 13,000-plus TEU vessels are heading for Georgia's ports, Allgood said. Since the realignment, 35 weekly container services call Garden City Terminal, more than any other port on the U.S. East Coast, he added.
“Our record-breaking performance in May with no congestion or operational issues gave our customers increased confidence in Georgia's ports,” Lynch said. “This proves the GPA can simultaneously serve larger vessels and greater volumes while providing the excellent logistic solutions our customers have come to expect.”
Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 369,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $20.4 billion in income, $84.1 billion in revenue and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.2 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.3 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in CY2015.
For more information, visit the GPA website at www.gaports.com.