For all the notoriety Savannah gets as the fourth largest and fastest growing container port in the country, we sometimes forget that Georgia Ports Authority has another impressive success some 100 miles down I-95.
The Port of Brunswick celebrated another milestone last month when International Auto Processing’s 6 millionth new auto import rolled down the ramp of the Eukor vehicle carrier Asian Parade on GPA’s Colonel’s Island Terminal.
Colonel’s Island is a major gateway for roll-on/roll-off cargo — both imports and exports — making Georgia Ports the second-busiest auto port in the country.
Auto processors and original equipment manufacturers are currently using some 600 acres on Colonel’s Island for their operations, which include performing quality checks, installing accessories and preparing vehicles for transportation to dealers.
Served by nine ocean carriers, Colonel’s Island features three modern Ro/Ro berths and four on-terminal auto processors, serving more than 60 auto and heavy equipment manufacturers.
The GPA board has approved $1.4M for permitting and design of a fourth berth to serve Ro/Ro vessels.
IAP, the first vehicle processor to set up shop on Colonel’s Island more than 30 years ago, recently extended its lease agreements with Georgia Ports to the end of 2025.
Just as GPA has been successful by staying 20 percent ahead of the demand curve at its container facility, ports executive director Griff Lynch sold his board on the idea of doing the same at Colonel’s Island, even though the business model is very different.
“Unlike our container port, we lease our Brunswick property to auto manufacturers, carriers and processors,” he said. “In the past, our position was to wait until we had a lease signed before developing a piece of property for a customer.
“But, as business has grown, it’s become more difficult to tell a customer who wants to start bringing machines through Brunswick, ‘Great! Sign this lease and your facility will be ready in a year.’
“That no longer works. So the board agreed to begin developing land that was not yet leased.”
The gamble has paid off so far, as most of the newly developed property has been snatched up, Lynch said.
The next step will be to close the aging and poorly performing agribulk facility on Colonel’s Island, making way for continuous Ro/Ro berthing, much like Garden City Terminal’s long stretch of container berths.
“Exports of soybeans and soybean meal at Colonel’s Island declined more than 21 percent last year,” Lynch said, noting that the facility exports no Georgia products.
“It’s smack dab in the middle of Ro/Ro operations. As a result of the aging of the facility and lack of opportunity for growth, we expect to close it by the end of 2018 and convert it to auto storage,” he said adding that the port will work with those remaining customers to make sure they have good exit strategies.
Date change for State of Port
If, like me, you didn’t get the memo, note that the 2017 State of the Port address, hosted by the Georgia Ports Authority and the Propeller Club, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. Tickets are reportedly going fast for the always sold-out event that begins at 10:30 a.m. with a coffee bar and networking. The luncheon will be from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $75 per person in advance, $85 per person at the door (if available). Reserved tables of 10 are $750.
For tickets and information, visit gaports.com/stateoftheport.
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 email@example.com.
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 MAERSK WEYMOUTH Today
GCT MUSTAFA DAYI Today
GCT NYK REMUS Today
GCT YORKTOWN EXPRESS Today
GCT NORTHERN MAJESTIC Today
GCT EVER LUCID Today
GCT MARGARETE SCHULTE Today
OT TUGELA Today
OT GRANDE GABON Today
GCT CMA CGM FIGARO Saturday
GCT MAERSK KOBE Saturday
GCT MSC KLEVEN Saturday
GCT CMA CGM AMBER Saturday
GCT CHARLESTON EXPRESS Saturday
GCT COSCO VIETNAM Saturday
GCT SUEZ CANAL Saturday
GCT SEASPAN THAMES Sunday
GCT MOL MOTIVATOR Sunday
GCT MAERSK SANTANA Sunday
GCT MSC VITTORIA Sunday
GCT TSINGTAO EXPRESS Monday
GCT AS MORGANA Monday
GCT MAERSK ATLANTA Monday
GCT MSC ANIELLO Monday
GCT MSC SPAIN Monday
GCT JULIETTE RICKMERS Monday
GCT CMA CGM MUSSET Tuesday
GCT MSC KARLSKRONA Tuesday
GCT NORTHERN MAGNUM Tuesday
GCT MAERSK SURABAYA Tuesday
OT TIJUCA Tuesday
OT BBC NAGASAKI Tuesday
GCT ZIM QINGDAO Wednesday
GCT PARISFAL Wednesday
GCT PACON Wednesday
OT INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH Wednesday
GCT YM MOVEMENT Thursday
GCT HONOLULU BRIDGE Thursday
GCT MOL EMPIRE Thursday
GCT EDISON Thursday
GCT MAERSK KAWASAKI Thursday