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GPA sets tonnage record in October
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SAVANNAH—Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz announced Monday the GPA experienced exceptional growth in October, reflecting several all-time records in many commodity segments. Overall tonnage recorded a new monthly record handling 2,347,260 tons, which represented an increase of 9.8 percent compared with last October. 
“This increase is consistent with growth rates that have been experienced since December 2009 and indicates ongoing improvements in overall market conditions,” Foltz said. “Many commodity groups reported increases during October with records set in container volume at Garden City and automobile activity at Colonel’s Island.”
Container volumes continued impressive gains in October, which is traditionally the peak shipping month for retailer import volumes. The Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal handled a record 152,469 containers or 273,296 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), representing increases of 17.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively. Fiscal year 2011 overall container volume to date reflects a 20.7-percent increase compared with the same time period in FY2010. Record October container volumes were driven by increases in loaded import activity, which was up 14.61 percent.
“Ocean carriers and beneficial cargo owners are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2011, a position that has improved in the last two months,” Foltz said.
“They all point to consumer spending during the upcoming holiday season to ultimately determine what happens in 2011. We expect container volumes at Garden City to be moderate in November through December and then will slowly recover to prior year levels through January and February.”
At the Port of Brunswick, the GPA handled 41,063 auto units in October 2010, which is an increase of 61.6 percent compared with October 2009.
Agri-bulk handled 104,286 tons at Colonel’s Island Terminal, marking an increase of 36.9 percent compared with October 2009.
“Accommodating October’s impressive volume without impacts on our world-class speed and efficiency levels is due to the hard working men and women on our terminal, but also to the strategic infrastructure upgrades,” said GPA Chairman of the Board Alec L. Poitevint. “As larger vessels continue to call on the Port of Savannah, the increased global demand for trade through our ports necessitates the efficiency and additional capacity of a deeper harbor.”