The Port of Savannah, long the US east coast star for Asian imports, posted a 4.2 per cent decline in container volume in April year on year to 248,886 TEU, compared to 260,063 TEU the same period last year and 259,796 TEU in March.
Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) executive director Curtis Foltz said a "very fragile US economic recovery and on-going consumer uncertainty for the balance of 2012" were the main reasons of the contraction.
Conversely, roll-on and roll-off volumes at the GPA's Port of Brunswick grew 57.7 per cent year on year to a new high of 59,974 units. Mr Foltz said "the growing export market for vehicles and heavy equipment produced in Georgia and around the southeast" had driven the high volume boom.
The two ports handled a total of 2.3 million tons in April, the fourth highest recorded volumes, which were 75,000 tons lower than the all-time high marked in March.
Looking ahead, to cater for the growing heavy machinery exports, the GPA has appropriated $2.8 million to enhance the infrastructure at Colonel's Island in Brunswick for roads, bridges, staging areas and rail loading and offloading areas.
The authority has also accepted a recommendation by the US Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the Savannah Harbour to 47 feet for postpanamax container vessels.
Source: Port of Savannah