The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) achieved its busiest October ever for loaded containers, despite serious supply chain challenges from Hurricane Matthew and the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Co., port executives said Monday.
In October, the GPA handled 251,566 loaded twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), an increase of 5,876 TEUs, or 2.4 percent, to set an all-time GPA record for the month.
Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch also reported to the GPA board fiscal-year-to-date growth of 4 percent for loaded container traffic, moving 1.01 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 40,545 TEUs compared to the same period in 2015.
"I would like to thank our customers for their continued confidence, and congratulate our entire team on this record growth, achieved despite challenges related to Hurricane Matthew and the Hanjin bankruptcy," Lynch said.
The GPA board also took steps Monday to continue expanding its freight capacity, approving $4.27 million for the Savannah Multimodal Connector, a rail project intended to expand GPA's service frontier westward.
"This action today by our board gives a green light to GPA's Mid-American Arc," said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "Improved unit train capacity will build density into the system, and make routes between the Midwest and the hub port of Savannah more attractive to our rail providers."
Set for completion in 2020, the $140 million project will double annual rail lift capacity to 1 million containers. The project will allow Garden City Terminal to handle additional 10,000-foot-long-unit trains, while simultaneously reducing impact on nearby communities. The multimodal connector will play a key role in GPA's Mid-American Arc initiative, which will expand rail service to and from Garden City Terminal and an arc of cities ranging from Memphis, to St. Louis, Chicago, and the Ohio Valley. The GPA also took action at its November meeting to increase capacity at the Port of Brunswick, the nation's second busiest automobile port. The board approved three items totaling $15.5 million that will develop an additional 85 acres for vehicle processing at Colonel's Island Terminal.