The Georgia Ports Authority ended 2014 with growth in all cargo sectors, including a 10.2 percent increase in 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) and a 7.4 percent increase in total tonnage.
“Our deepwater ports are powerful economic engines for the state of Georgia and the nation,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “GPA’s great performance over the past year is a testament to Georgia’s superior logistics network, starting with port terminals that have flawlessly taken on more business while still ensuring on-time, reliable delivery.”
A busy December helped to lift the Port of Savannah to 3.34 million TEUs for the year, an increase of 312,037 TEUs over 2013. The Port of Brunswick continued its dominant performance in auto and machinery trade, moving 688,575 units for the year. Combined with roll-on/roll-off trade through the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, GPA moved 716,055 units in 2014, an 8.6 percent (57,190-unit) increase on the year.
“In 2014, we saw phenomenal growth in every category,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Georgia’s ports benefited from an improving retail economy, renewed strength in manufacturers’ orders of raw goods, and the expanding population of the Southeast.”
Breakbulk cargo such as forest products, iron and steel improved by 12 percent, or 294,466 tons, to reach 2.74 million tons. Meanwhile, bulk cargo such as gypsum, wood pellets and agricultural products saw an increase of 5.7 percent (152,987 tons) for a total of 2.81 million tons.
Counting containerized, bulk and breakbulk cargo, total tonnage reached 30.39 million tons, up 2.09 million for the calendar year.
For December, GPA moved a record 68,684 automotive and heavy equipment units, for a year-over-year increase of 20.1 percent (11,507 units). Also in December, GPA moved 277,633 20-foot equivalent container units, up 18 percent, or 42,333 units. Total tonnage grew by 12.9 percent (305,291 tons) to reach 2.67 million tons of cargo in December.
“Commerce has chosen Savannah as the Southeast’s busiest port for containerized cargo,” said GPA Board Chairman James Walters. “With construction beginning on the Savannah Harbor deepening, the Jimmy Deloach Parkway extension moving toward completion, and our continued on-terminal investment, we are solidifying our role as a logistics hub.”
In other business, to accommodate larger than expected volume growth, the Authority board approved the purchase of 10 additional rubber-tired gantry cranes. This is an addition to a May order for 20 of the machines used to handle shipping containers on terminal.