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Georgia’s Port of Savannah on pace to top 4 million TEUs

Oct 12, 2017

The Port of Savannah is on pace to top the 4 million mark in TEU this year, continuing to be the fastest-growing U.S. containerport, according to Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).

Lynch, now in his second year at the GPA helm, made the projection today [Oct. 12] before an overflow crowd of nearly 1,500 in the annual state of the port address, hosted by Georgia Ports Authority and the Propeller Club of the United States-Port of Savannah at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Buoyed by megaship traffic via the expanded Panama Canal, the Port of Savannah set a container volume record in its fiscal year ended June 30, handling 3.85 million TEUs – 242,000 TEUs (or 6.9%) more than in the preceding 12-month period – and has proceeded to report record months thereafter, as the port continues to work an increasing number of mega-containerships.

During the final half of that fiscal year – the first six months of calendar 2017 – the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal moved 1.99 million TEUs, which, Lynch said, has port officials anticipating throughput for the current calendar year to reach 4 million TEUs.

In September, the Port of Savannah had to close for six days, primarily due to hurricane-caused damage to navigational aids, and promptly rebounded by welcoming eight ships, including the CMA CGM John Adams, with a capacity of more than 14,000 TEUs, sister ship to the similarly supersized CMA CGM T. Roosevelt.

Lynch noted that, earlier this year, the GPA approved purchase of six more neo-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes to arrive in 2020, augmenting four similar new big units to be operational in mid-2018, to bring the 1,200-acre Garden City Terminal’s total such contingent to 36 at the Western Hemisphere’s largest single container terminal, termed by Lynch as “the envy of every port operator in the country.”

Lynch said the port already offers capacity for handling as many as 6.5 million TEUs a year and is moving forward to further enhance capabilities, including with rail-served inland ports and a consolidated “mega-rail facility” serving the Port of Savannah.

Speaking before Lynch, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal called for the federal government to step up in providing its share of funding to advance the project to deepen the Savannah Harbor, while GPA Chairman Jimmy Allgood said Georgia has “the fastest-growing and most efficient port operation in the country.”

Comprehensive coverage, including reception photos, is slated to appear in the Oct. 23 edition of the American Journal of Transportation.

Author Photo

For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.

Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.

A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.

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