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Ports celebrating another record-setting year
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Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz told a crowd of more than 1,200 at the annual State of the Port event that the authority experienced record cargo volumes, significant infrastructure improvements and continued environmental leadership in fiscal year 2012.

The Port of Savannah moved 2.98 million TEUs in FY2012, setting another record for container volumes. (TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent, a measure used for capacity in container transportation.)

Additional accomplishments included an increase of 561,038 tons of cargo moved, for a record total of 26.5 million tons. Breakbulk cargo saw 15.6 percent growth over FY11, for an increase of 342,446 tons to 2.53 million tons. In autos and machinery units, Colonel’s Island at the Port of Brunswick led the GPA to greater than 19 percent growth. Georgia Ports moved an all-time high of 569,984 roll-on/roll-off units across all terminals in FY2012.

 “The confidence our customers have in the GPA’s services has benefited not only the ports, but the state’s job picture as a whole,” said Foltz. “Major port-related announcements in FY2012 included 1,400 future jobs at the new Caterpillar plant in Athens, 900 jobs at Bed, Bath & Beyond’s Pendergrass site and an 800-job expansion at the Big Tex trailer-building facility in Cordele.”

Other large announcements included Lowe’s $125 million, 1.4 million-square-foot regional distribution center in Rome. The company will hire up to 600 employees by 2016. In addition, Mohawk Industries announced a 500-job expansion at its Summerville factory, recycling plastic containers into carpet fibers.

The Port of Savannah boosted the Savannah economy by supporting an 85.7 percent occupancy rate for local distribution centers in calendar year 2011, out of a total 44.1 million square feet. The port added five new shipping services in FY12, ending the year with the most weekly services to Asia of any port on the East Coast.

Total vessel calls reached a record 2,916 in FY12.