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PortSide: GPA marks busiest January on record

  • The 10,000-plus TEU vessel MOL Benefactor is worked at GPA’s Garden City Terminal in July. Since then, the port has welcomed more than 30 megaships traveling through the newly expanded Panama Canal. (Georgia Ports Authority/Stephen B. Morton)

In a month that’s usually slower than most, the Georgia Ports Authority continued to move forward on all cylinders in January, recording double-digit growth across all business sectors, including a 26-percent increase in total tonnage.

Calling port unrivaled in both customer service and its connectivity into the country’s heartland, GPA executive director Griff Lynch credited supply chain efficiencies for the record 3 million tons of cargo moved in January, up 623,504 tons compared to the same month a year ago.

“With on-terminal efficiencies bolstered by interstates within minutes of the port and the fastest westward rail transit in the South Atlantic region, Garden City Terminal provides more reliable, more cost-effective freight movement,” he said.

Containerized trade saw strong growth, with 331,468 twenty-foot equivalent units crossing the docks at the Port of Savannah, up 16.2 percent. Of that, loaded containers accounted for approximately 268,000 TEUs, also a record.

Those loaded containers contributed to the improvement in container tonnage, which was up 22.1 percent for the month.

Bulk cargo at the Port of Brunswick – 235,802 tons — more than doubled in January, while break-bulk cargo at Ocean Terminal in Savannah and at Mayor’s Point and Colonel’s Island terminals in Brunswick grew to 211,575 tons, up 17.7 percent over the same month last year.

Roll-on/Roll-off cargo was up 7 percent, with nearly 53,000 auto, truck and tractor units moving across GPA docks in January.

“The phenomenal growth at Georgia’s ports speaks to the powerful, vibrant economy of Georgia and the Southeastern U.S.,” said GPA board chairman Jimmy Allgood.

“As we continue to expand our transportation infrastructure with a deeper harbor, the largest crane fleet of any U.S. terminal, unmatched interstate connections and a mega-terminal for rail, you’ll see our ports continue to capture market share and bring new business to the state.”

An East Coast gateway

The port is already capturing its share of the mega ships now coming through the Panama Canal.

Six months after the first NeoPanamax ship moved through the expanded and newly opened locks, the impact of these larger ships on East Coast trade is starting to shake out, with definite winners and losers among Atlantic ports.

“We can talk all we want about how we think we’re a gateway port,” Lynch told his audience at the Georgia Foreign Trade Convention on Seas Island earlier this month.

“But, in reality, our customers determine who is, and isn’t, a gateway port.”

The ports of New York/New Jersey, Norfolk and Savannah each had 31 calls from 10,000-plus TEU vessels between July 1 and Dec. 31 last year. Charleston saw seven of the big ships during the same time period, while Jacksonville and Miami had none.

Senior business reporter Mary Carr Mayle covers the ports for the Savannah Morning News and savannahnow. She can be reached at 912-652-0324 or at mary.mayle@savannahnow.com.

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Breakout Box: 

Following are the ships expected to call on Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City and Ocean terminals this week. Schedules are supplied by GPA and are subject to change.

TERMINAL VESSEL ETA

GCT MSC MAEVA Today

GCT SAINT NIKOLAOS Today

GCT HIGH VALOR Today

GCT MAERSK WINNIPEG Today

GCT ZIM CHICAGO Today

GCT EVER LIBERAL Today

GCT MSC KOLKATA Today

GCT HAMBURG Today

GCT ALM ZURICH Today

GCT MAERSK ATLANTA Today

GCT ALLISE P Today

GCT MSC KINGSTON Saturday

GCT LANA Saturday

GCT UASC UMM QASR Saturday

GCT MOL BELIEF Saturday

GCT MSC AMERICA Sunday

GCT PRIORITY Sunday

GCT IBRAHIM DEDE Sunday

GCT CMA CGM MUSSET Sunday

GCT MOL MARVEL Sunday

GCT HANGZHOU BAY BRIDGE Sunday

GCT MAERSK SARNIA Sunday

GCT MAERSK KOTKA Sunday

OT YOU & ISLAND Sunday

GCT KYOTO EXPRESS Monday

GCT NEW DELHI EXPRESS Monday

GCT AS CARELIA Monday

GCT MSC GENEVA Monday

GCT MSC ARUSHI R. Monday

GCT CUCKOO HUNTER Monday

GCT NORTHERN MONUMENT Monday

GCT CPO BALTIMORE Monday

GCT YM UNITY Monday

GCT MAULE Monday

OT NANDU ARROW Monday

OT GRAVITY HIGHWAY Monday

GCT YORKTOWN EXPRESS Tuesday

GCT MSC DONATA Tuesday

GCT ZIM MONACO Tuesday

GCT MAERSK KOKURA Tuesday

GCT HYUNDAI FORCE Tuesday

OT MP ULTRAMAX 2 Tuesday

OT TONSBERG Tuesday

OT GRANDE GUINEA Tuesday

GCT PETROCHEM TRADER Wednesday

GCT ARIAN Wednesday

GCT VENETIA Wednesday

GCT THURINGIA Wednesday

GCT MAERSK GATESHEAD Wednesday

OT GLOBAL GARNET Wednesday

OT PARSIFAL Wednesday

GCT JULIETTE RICKMERS Thursday

GCT SEAMAX NORWALK Thursday

GCT SANTA BETTINA Thursday

GCT SEATTLE EXPRESS Thursday

GCT ANGELES Thursday

GCT MSC PINA Thursday

GCT CMA CGM TITUS Thursday

GCT BREMEN EXPRESS Thursday

OT ESSEX STRAIT Thursday

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