Intermodal Efficiency Boosts Savannah's Container Volumes

Credit: Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton
Credit: Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton

Published Dec 11, 2019 9:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Port of Savannah moved 363,000 TEUs in November, a 5.4 percent increase over the same month last year. For the fiscal year to date (July-November), the Georgia Ports Authority has handled nearly two million TEUs, an increase of 109,000 TEUs, or 5.8 percent.
The positive numbers achieved last month mean Savannah's Garden City Terminal mark year-over-year increases for five consecutive months, and 34 out of the past 36 months.
"After nearly three full years of cargo growth, with dozens of monthly records, it is frankly surprising to see our numbers continue to grow upon such a large base," said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. "The streamlined movement of containers from vessel to departing rail in 24 hours and capacity increases built into Garden City Terminal have helped to increase volumes and improve efficiency."

With the first phase of GPA’s Mason Mega Rail project opening this spring, cargo moved by rail has grown twice as fast as the Authority’s overall three-year growth rate in container trade. Over the first 10 months of the year, intermodal volumes expanded by 30 percent, compared to the same period in 2017. The port handled 427,891 rail containers through October, up 98,835 over volumes from three years ago. The new Mason Mega Rail terminal will double Savannah’s on-port rail capacity to one million containers per year.
The Authority's Mid-American Arc initiative, targeting markets from Memphis to Chicago and the Ohio River Valley, is also starting to pay dividends with customers moving more cargo in direct shipments from Savannah to the Midwest.

The Georgia Ports Authority is on track to exceed 4.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units for the first time in a calendar year. That level of trade would be a 14 percent increase over volumes moved through Savannah just three years ago. Over the same period, the Authority has increased the annual capacity at the Port of Savannah from five million to 5.5 million TEUs.

In roll-on/roll-off traffic, Colonel's Island at the Port of Brunswick and Ocean Terminal in Savannah moved a combined 62,146 units of cars, trucks and heavy equipment in November, an increase of five percent, or 2,850 units. GPA has handled 281,547 ro/ro units, up 2,030 units or approximately one percent, through the first five months of the fiscal year.