The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) signed an historic agreement last week to jointly promote all-water shipping routes and trade opportunities between Asia and the Port of Savannah.
“China’s economy continues to fuel world trade among all nations and in doing so is growing a new domestic market of its own for the world economies to service via exports to China,” said Doug J. Marchand, GPA’s executive director. “This strategic alliance will allow GPA and the Shanghai International Port Group to improve services for our customers and generate new economic opportunities for Georgia and the Southeastern United States.”
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement provides both parties the opportunity to promote a strong working relationship and exchange information and expertise in the areas of marketing, operations and information technology. The agreement also calls for concerted efforts to expand international trade through both ports by supporting the market presence in their respective countries and with common customers.
Byron Hock, GPA’s director of trade development said, “This Memorandum of Understanding formalizes a developing cooperative relationship on a variety of areas like IT, operations and marketing. China is a major driver of global trade, and the port of Shanghai is fast becoming the strongest port in China.”
“Georgia-grown, processed and produced products exported to Shanghai have increased by more than 30 percent in just the past year,” said Marchand. “The State of Georgia can only benefit from this trend and by increasing ties with China through initiatives such as the MOU signed between GPA and SIPG.”
Several new services connecting Savannah and the Far East have firmly cemented it as the second busiest U.S. East Coast port in Asian trades after New York/New Jersey. China, including Hong Kong, accounted for more than 40 percent of GPA’s total trade with mainland China, as well as 34 percent of GPA’s total trade in 2004. GPA’s exports to Shanghai Port in 2004 totaled 59,028 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units).
The Port of Savannah has 16 all-water weekly Asia-US East Coast services, including 14 via the Panama Canal and two via the Suez Canal, and is the fifth largest container port in the United States.
“A key ingredient to our steady growth in the Asian market is directly tied to our excellent partnership with America’s major retailers,” said Marchand. “As a result, Savannah is a regional distribution hub employing thousands of people.”
GPA has strategic partnerships with other ports, such as Sydney Ports Corporation, Panama Canal Authority and Port of Shimizu in Japan.