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Double-digit growth for ports in August
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The Georgia Ports Authority saw a strong August, with increased business across all categories, both month-over-month and fiscal year to date.

Totals for all terminals hit 2.3 million tons, up 13 percent on the month. For the fiscal year, 4.52 million tons of cargo have crossed GPA docks, for an increase of 5.6 percent.

“The GPA’s growth despite a relatively flat economy reflects the level of efficiency and service our customers receive, which helps Georgia’s deepwater ports maintain existing business and expand our market share,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz.

The port of Savannah marked an August increase of 10.4 percent in total tonnage, or 197,720 tons, for more than 2 million tons of cargo. That growth was led by a 9 percent increase in container tonnage at Garden City Terminal, and a 47.3 percent increase in breakbulk freight at Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, compared to August a year ago.

For the fiscal year to date, total tonnage at Port of Savannah terminals is 4.14 million, up 3.7 percent.
The count for last month’s 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) is up by 13.8 percent, or 32,819 TEUs, to reach a total of 270,610. This was the GPA’s second-highest month for TEUs ever, behind only October 2010. For FY2013, the increase is 4.4 percent, at 522,740 TEUs.

Besides containerized cargo, the GPA also grew its bulk and breakbulk business. At the port of Brunswick’s East River docks, bulk cargo went from 49,402 tons in August 2011 to 80,176 in the month just ended, for an increase of 62.3 percent. Year-over-year, East River moved 7.8 percent more cargo to reach 101,738 tons.

At Colonel’s Island in Brunswick, breakbulk cargo jumped 46.2 percent on the month to 108,585 tons. On the fiscal year, the rate of growth is 35 percent at 209,477 tons. Breakbulk at Brunswick’s Mayor’s Point nearly doubled to 10,380 tons.

Automobile and machinery units moved through Colonel’s Island and Ocean Terminal increased 45.7 percent on the month, totaling 57,113 units. This means August was also the second-highest month for roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) units at the GPA, with the high mark set in April 2012.

“Heavy machinery customers such as JCB, Caterpillar and John Deere are experiencing healthy demand in markets such as Australia and the Middle East, while the more than 20 auto makers who use GPA services are doing brisk business in Europe,” Foltz said.

For the fiscal year, Ro/Ro units increased by 36.2 percent, reaching 111,726 units. Brunswick processed 98 percent of the GPA’s roll-on / roll-off cargo for August.

Total vessel calls reached 259 in August, 36 more than in August a year ago. The GPA set August records in total trucking gate moves (179,905) and in containers moved by rail (29,364).