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GPA to expand its capacity at the Port of Savannah
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The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Board of Directors approved a $4.75 million project Monday that will expand the Port of Savannah’s capacity for refrigerated container storage by 45 percent.

“As the leading U.S. container port for poultry exports, this new investment will not only expand capacity, but create additional opportunity to export American-made and grown products to the world,” said GPA’s Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz.

The project will consist of the fabrication and installation of 20 four-story steel-framed refrigerated container racks at Garden City Terminal’s Container Berth 8 (CB-8). It is scheduled to be completed in September 2012.

The GPA currently has 44 refrigerated container racks in service. Each rack powers 24 refrigerated containers. When complete, the new racks will allow the Port of Savannah to accommodate 1,536 containers with a total of 64 racks online.

The Port of Savannah moves nearly 40 percent of U.S. containerized poultry or 1.6 billion pounds annually. In the past five years, refrigerated container volume has increased 54 percent at the Port of Savannah. Savannah’s refrigerated containerized cargo was dominated by exports in FY2011 (July 2010 through June 2011) with 76 percent exports to 24 percent imports. Poultry was GPA’s fourth largest export commodity during FY2011, behind wood pulp, paper and paperboard including paper waste, and fabrics including raw cotton. Savannah also exported more than $804.5 million of containerized poultry during FY2011, with the bulk of it going to Hong Kong.

“Each year we continue to invest in infrastructure to make sure that wherever the Port of Savannah is today that it will remain so in the future,” said GPA’s Chairman of the Board Alec Poitevint. “Improvements like these ensure Georgia’s role in global commerce as a gateway for American agricultural products.”

Before electrified refrigerated container racks were brought online in 2008, diesel generators were used to power refrigerated containers in tandem with wheeled parking spots with electrical hookups. Now, for every ten racks placed into service, the GPA saves about 540,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, which would have been used to power diesel generators.

With a total of 44 racks online now, the GPA avoids using more than 2.376 million gallons annually.