At the Georgia Ports Authority board meeting Monday, Executive Director Curtis Foltz reported that the GPA achieved record volumes and added additional customer accounts in October.
“Strong growth, new customer accounts and additional harbor deepening funding announced this month are all positive signs that Georgia’s ports are moving in the right direction,” said Foltz.
Georgia ports moved a record 2.54 million tons of cargo during October – a 22 percent increase over the same month a year ago. The Colonel’s Island Terminal at the Port of Brunswick and Savannah’s Ocean Terminal combined to move a record 62,343 units of automobiles and heavy machinery in October, for an increase of 10,045 or 19.2 percent over October 2012.
October’s growth pushed total tonnage to 9.6 million for the fiscal year to date, a 9.2 percent increase over the same period in FY2013.
Also in October, the GPA achieved a 19 percent increase in twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), reaching 274,362 TEUs – an increase of 43,723 for the month. For the fiscal year, the GPA has moved 1.06 million TEUs, for a 5.3 percent increase over the previous year.
At the board meeting, Foltz also reported that major new accounts have been added to the Port of Savannah’s portfolio. Those included Hankook Tires, which has established a new distribution facility in Liberty County, which will house 600,000 tires and serve 10 states in the Southeastern U.S.
Another win for the GPA was the relocation of flooring producer Shaw Industries’ Southeast distribution center to Savannah from Columbia, S.C. With the move, the Dalton, Ga., company has doubled its square footage at its Northport Parkway location from 156,000 square feet to more than 300,000.
“The superior efficiency of our ports is a powerful draw, bringing jobs and commerce to the state,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “Georgia ports have risen to prominence by partnering with U.S. companies seeking new markets for their products. Today, the Georgia Ports Authority serves about 21,000 companies from all 50 states.”
Last week, at the Atlanta State of the Port event, Gov. Deal announced his intention to seek another $35 million from the General Assembly to help fund the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The new request will bring the total state dollars allotted to the harbor deepening to $266 million. This would fulfill the state’s portion of the total project cost of $652 million.
“The harbor deepening and the GPA have enjoyed the steadfast support of our state leaders and our delegation to Washington from the start of this project in 1999,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson. “The commitment and foresight of Gov. Deal and others have brought us to where we stand today – ready to begin construction.”
In landside infrastructure, the GPA board dedicated $8 million to expand its program to electrify the rubber-tired gantry cranes used to handle containers at Garden City Terminal. The new technology reduces diesel consumption by an estimated 95 percent per crane.
In FY2013, during the program’s first phase, the GPA electrified four RTG cranes. The next phase of the project will expand the electrification system to a larger area and convert 10 cranes from diesel to electric power.
“At GPA, we are focused on serving customers and promoting economic growth, but doing it in a way that preserves and protects the environment,” said Jepson. “That’s why we are making significant investments in reducing diesel consumption, in more efficient container yard lighting and in storm water treatment that protects the Savannah River.”