The Port of Savannah marked a milestone Friday, welcoming the COSCO Development - the largest containership to ever to call on the U.S. East Coast. More than 5,500 containers crossed the GPA’s docks from the single vessel, a record for Georgia’s ports. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, port officials and members of the maritime community were on hand to welcome the vessel and observe the operation.

This 13,000-TEU vessel represents the future of shipping, part of a growing trend in the ocean carrier business toward larger, more efficient vessels. During the ship’s 30 hours at dock, up to six cranes moved 10,000 TEUs, more than half the vessel’s entire volume for its maiden voyage to the East Coast.

The GPA, the International Longshoremen’s Association and Ports America were able to achieve a net berth productivity of 220 moves per hour for the COSCO Development, on a day when the port handled a total of seven vessels, moving more than 12,000 containers or 21,600 TEUs.

Growth is happening not only in Savannah but also at the Port of Brunswick. At Colonel’s Island, 214 acres are in the design or development stages, bringing auto processing space to 547 acres. In addition to the land now being developed, the long-term plan is to add another 510 acres on the island’s south side to support auto processing, doubling the capacity for cars and heavy machinery in Brunswick.

As the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and the Brunswick improvements progress, the Georgia Ports Authority’s ability to spur the state’s economy will also grow.