February 7, 2017

GPA sells 5 million square feet at Savannah

Development to expand port's reach into Midwest.

By DC Velocity Staff

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), which operates the ports of Savannah and Brunswick, said it has tentatively sold 500 acres of industrial property near the Port of Savannah to unidentified buyers to accommodate growing demand for warehousing, distribution, and trans-loading facilities near the nation's fourth-busiest container port.

The new development, located on five parcels at GPA's Savannah River International Trade Park, can accommodate up to 5 million square feet of logistics space, said GPA. The transactions have yet to close, Robert Morris, a GPA spokesman, said today.

The parcels are about one mile from Interstate 95, which runs north-south from Maine to Florida, and less than five miles from Savannah's Garden City intermodal container terminal. GPA officials said the property's sale and subsequent development is designed to meet growing customer demand for services from the Southeast to the Midwest. Last September, GPA launched a four-year, $128 million program, called the "Mid-American Arc," to establish an "arc" of coverage linking the two rail yards at Garden City with Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and the Ohio Valley. The service will create sufficient traffic density to allow for the building of 10,000-square-foot-sized unit trains at the terminal, port officials said at the time.

The announcement, which was made over the weekend, "will help further establish Savannah as a gateway port for the U.S. Southeast and beyond," said Executive Director Griff Lynch in a statement.

David Egan, head of industrial and logistics research at real estate and logistics services company CBRE Group Inc., said in an e-mail that it is significant for a market the size of Savannah to add 5 million square feet of prime industrial property. Egan added that the expansion will enable GPA to keep tenants in Savannah that might have otherwise been forced to relocate to the Atlanta area, nearly 250 miles northwest, for access to industrial capacity.

Savannah has experienced strong traffic growth for several years, much of it due to the broad appeal of the Garden City terminal, considered one of the best-run intermodal yards of any U.S. port. Savannah has set records for twenty-foot equivalent container unit (TEU) traffic for the last three months through January.

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