Port of Savannah posts record numbers February

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The Georgia Ports Authority handled 451,670 twenty-foot equivalent container units in February, for an increase of 56,880 TEUs or 14.4 percent compared to the same month last year. Loaded import containers gained 19 percent for 219,000 TEUs, while export loads increased 10 percent to 121,930.

“I’d like to thank our customers for making Savannah the premier gateway into the U.S. Southeast for global commerce,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “The region’s fast-growing population, and an increasing number of manufacturing and logistics operations are both factors in the long-term expansion of trade through Georgia.”

Lynch said he was pleased to see two consecutive months of growth in January and February. After a challenging start to the fiscal year, the improving volumes should carry GPA to a stronger second half of Fiscal Year 2024, ending in June.

Intermodal rail cargo set a February record in Savannah last month. Rail volumes at the port’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal ramped up to 46,890 containers, an increase of 39 percent or 13,060 lifts compared to February 2023. Rail accounted for 19 percent of GPA’s February container trade, with the remainder moving by truck.

“GPA has made significant investments in rail infrastructure,” Lynch said. “That’s going to play a key role in capturing our next growth target – a greater share of the market in locations such as Dallas, Memphis and beyond.”

Mason Mega Rail is the largest marine terminal rail facility in North America, featuring 24 miles of track on 85 acres at the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal. Its $220 million development increased the port’s rail capacity to 1 million containers per year, rerouted trains away from neighborhood crossings, and brought rail switching onto the port. The expanded rail capacity speeds intermodal cargo handling and extends GPA’s inland service area.

“Our gratitude goes out to GPA employees and our partners at Gateway Terminals and the International Longshoremen’s Association for the outstanding work they are doing,” said GPA Board Chairman Kent Fountain. “The energy and care they put into our terminal services is a key reason customers continue to choose Georgia’s ports.”

The Appalachian Regional Port in Northwest Georgia also set a February record, thanks in part to an increase in the import of manufacturing components. The ARP handled 3,285 containers last month, up 610 containers or 23 percent.

The ARP provides an alternative to an all-truck route to and from the Port of Savannah. Each round-trip container moved via the ARP reduces energy consumption and offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways. The ARP’s target markets include regions of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. The $26.7 million facility opened in 2018.