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Portside: More growth for port; ship apps let you watch

  • Workers unload rolls of steel from a vessel at the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal in July. Breakbulk tonnage grew by 22 percent at Ocean Terminal last month. (Georgia Ports Authority/Stephen B. Morton)

When Georgia Ports Authority Chairman Jimmy Allgood challenged GPA leadership to reach for a record 4 million TEUs in the coming year, he was talking about fiscal year 2018, which began July 1.

But given the ports’ performance so far in 2017, Allgood may not have to wait that long.

GPA executive director Griff Lynch announced Thursday the port has moved 2.33 million 20-foot container units (TEUs) so far this calendar year, a nearly 11 percent jump from the same measure last year.

In what was its busiest July ever, the ports handled more than 336,000 TEUs and overall breakbulk cargo grew by more 12 percent. Breakbulk tonnage at Savannah’s Ocean Terminal alone was up 22 percent last month.

“It’s through the incredible efficiency and productivity of GPA employees and the International Longshoremen’s Association, as well as the continued commitment of shippers and customers, that these record volumes are possible,” Lynch said.

“Georgia’s renewed investments, strong support from Gov. Nathan Deal and state leaders, and GPA’s superior logistics are encouraging customers to bring more business here.”

Allgood agreed.

“Our July performance underscores the value of our deepwater ports to the nation’s economy,” he said. “Our terminals support the exports of our farms and factories, supply components for domestic manufacturing, and ensure the efficiency of retail commerce.”

There’s an app for shipwatchers

Although Savannah has always had its share of die-hard ship-watchers, the influx of truly huge container vessels is drawing more than a few new converts to the pastime.

Whether you’re watching from Tybee, River Street, across the river on Hutchinson Island, or from the shores of forts Jackson or Pulaski, it’s always more fun to know a little about the big ships that ply our river, sailing to and from the second-largest port on the East Coast.

Now, there’s an app for that.

According to industry publication Marine Insight, the use of online vessel tracking services has increased exponentially over the last couple of years. Several websites provide ship tracking using the AIS – or automatic identification system — to display real time location of the ships.

The introduction of Google Earth also revolutionized the ship tracking process, allowing access to each and every detail of almost all ships within seconds.

Below are three of the most widely used apps for ship locating, with Marine Insight’s comments on each. Most of the basic apps are free, although you can upgrade to more sophisticated versions. At any rate, Marine Insight cautions that ship tracking done through these services is meant for educational, not navigational use

“Though most of these service providers promise ‘real-time’ ship location, the data displayed is always behind by anywhere from a few minutes to several hours,” the magazine said.

Give them a try and let me know which ones you like best. And if you’re looking for a ship to follow, the OOCL France, which holds the current record for the largest ship so far to call on GPA, returns to Savannah Thursday.Marine-Traffic – The most well-known and widely-used online ship tracking system offers real-time data of ships along with advanced search features. The website’s AIS system boasts a massive data base of ships of every type. With this service, you can also look at activity in ports around the world.

Ship Finder - Another widely used online ship-tracking service, Ship Finder allows vessel search through various options such as ship number, tonnage and capacity, ownership, construction etc. It also keeps a track of all ships searched by you and offers premium paid membership for advanced users.

Fleet Mon - Fleet Mon offers almost all the features provided by both marine traffic and ship finder. However, Fleet Mon has its own FM explorer which all registered users can access. It also offers apps specifically for iPhone and iPad.

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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Ship schedule

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 BREVIK BRIDGE Today

GCT EVER LOGIC Today

GCT MAERSK WINNIPEG Today

GCT MSC ALESSIA Today

GCT MAERSK KAWASAKI Today

GCT MOL EMPIRE Today

GCT HONOLULU BRIDGE Today

GCT SANTA BETTINA Saturday

GCT MSC KWANGYANG Saturday

GCT ST LOUIS EXPRESS Saturday

GCT YORKTOWN EXPRESS Saturday

GCT MAERSK HARTFORD Saturday

GCT CMA CGM TAGE Saturday

GCT SAINT NIKOLAOS Saturday

GCT PETROCHEM SUPPLIER Saturday

OT TOMBARRA Saturday

GCT PRIORITY Sunday

GCT NYK RIGEL Sunday

GCT MSC ESTHI Sunday

GCT OOCL ASIA Sunday

GCT CMA CGM CORAL Sunday

GCT MOL MAGNIFICENCE Sunday

GCT LEYLA KALKAVAN Monday

GCT AXEL MAERSK Monday

TERMINAL VESSEL ETA

GCT GRASMERE MAERSK Monday

GCT ORCA I Monday

GCT GREEN RAY Monday

GCT YM UTILITY Monday

GCT YM UPSURGENCE Monday

OT GRANDE SENEGAL Monday

GCT MAERSK KOTKA Tuesday

GCT MAERSK SELETAR Tuesday

GCT ZIM CONSTANZA Tuesday

GCT MSC ROMA Tuesday

GCT MSC KIM Tuesday

OT PACIFIC ADVANCE Tuesday

GCT E. R. TIANPING Wednesday

GCT CMA CGM MOLIERE Wednesday

GCT YM UNANIMITY Wednesday

GCT ARIAN Wednesday

GCT MTM MUMBAI Wednesday

OT STAR KIRKENES Wednesday

OT TALISMAN Wednesday

GCT VENICE BRIDGE Thursday

GCT MAERSK KURE Thursday

GCT OOCL FRANCE Thursday

GCT VIOLET Thursday

GCT NYK ROMULUS Thursday

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