With the Savannah Harbor deepening underway and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Board approval of $141.8 million in capital improvements, the state’s ports in Savannah and Brunswick continue to experience record growth in April. Georgia’s ports are critically important to forestry companies accessing to global markets.
In April, Port of Savannah container volumes jumped 25.8 percent, or an additional 69,000 units. GPA also noted strong growth in roll-on/roll-off traffic, moving 77,574 units through Brunswick and Savannah, a 14.1 percent gain. GPA also reported that Ocean Terminal, Georgia’s multi-purpose facility in Savannah, nearly doubled its breakbulk cargo in April – expanding at a rate of 96.3 percent (81,691 tons). GPA’s total breakbulk tonnage grew by 38.7 percent for April (89,946 tons) to reach 322,603 tons.
“Across the logistics industry, focus has centered on GPA’s ability to handle large volume increases with no congestion,” Executive Director Curtis Foltz said. “Georgia has built world-class port facilities, and our customers appreciate service reliability for current and future volumes.”
In order to maintain excellent service levels, the GPA board on May 19 approved $141.8 million in capital improvements with passage of its fiscal year 2016 budget. Capital improvements to existing assets include $33.4 million to improve power infrastructure, $83.4 million for property development and the purchase of new equipment, and $16.5 million toward the purchase of four new ship-to-shore cranes.
Forestry’s Gateway to the World
Wood pulp, paper and paperboard from Georgia’s forest landowners and forest product manufacturers make up the top export commodities for Savannah’s port. Improvements and expansion to the state’s ports continue to be vitally important for the forestry community, providing forest products with access to global markets.
Forest product companies such as Georgia-Pacific and International Paper, among others, continue to weigh in on the importance of Georgia’s ports in Savannah and Brunswick to their own supply chain and the economic growth of the state.
A top exporter through both of GPA’s deepwater terminals, Georgia-Pacific has played a valuable role in the double-digit growth in total tonnage moving via the Port of Brunswick during this recent fiscal year.
“Having two world-class ports in the state of Georgia that are industry leaders is a big benefit not only for Georgia and Georgia-Pacific, but for our country as well,” said Ryan Hutcherson, Senior Director of Supply Chain and Logistics for Georgia-Pacific.
An important step in the continued success and growth of Georgia’s port is the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), currently underway. On March 4, the contract to deepen the entrance channel was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock. The project will deepen the shipping channel from 42 to 47 feet at mean low water. This will allow today’s larger, more efficient vessels to transit the channel with heavier loads and greater scheduling flexibility.
“The SHEP will create economic opportunity not only across Georgia, but throughout the Southeast,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said in a May 28 press release. “We’re grateful for our federal partners and their efforts thus far and will continue to work with them to ensure that their commitment is fully funded and reflects the importance of this project to the nation.”
According to GPA, businesses and consumers across the nation are projected to save $174 million a year through increased transportation efficiency. Each dollar invested in the SHEP will return $5.50 to the economy.
Click here to read the Georgia Ports Authority’s publication “A Gateway to the World” to find out how Georgia benefits from deepwater terminals in Savannah and Brunswick. For more information, contact GPA’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the GPA web site at www.gaports.com.