The Port of Savannah handled an all-time record 4.2 million 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers in its 2018 fiscal year ended June 30, an 8.4 percent year-over-year increase, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), which operates the port, said today.
In its busiest June ever, Savannah handled 370,725 TEUs, up 9.8 percent over June 2017. It was the 18th consecutive month that Savannah handled more than 300,000 TEUs, according to GPA statistics.
Intermodal rail lifts—defined as a container being onloaded to or offloaded from a rail car—rose 16.1 percent in the fiscal year to 435,000 lifts, also an all-time record, GPA said.
At its meeting Monday, the GPA board approved construction of an $8.8 million overpass that is part of the $127 million "Mason Mega Rail Project," also known as the "Mid-American Arc" project. When completed in 2020, the project will allow 10,000-foot unit trains to be built on terminal. The project will increase Savannah's annual rail lift capacity to 1 million containers by 2020 and cut transit times by up to 24 hours to mid-south and Midwest markets like Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati.
Next month, GPA will open its Appalachian Regional Port in Chatsworth, Ga., an inland rail terminal that will take 50,000 trucks off Georgia highways. Removing the need for a 710-mile roundtrip via truck, the inland port, located in Georgia's northwest corner, will improve container availability and reduce transportation costs for port customers in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, GPA said.
GPA also reported that total cargo crossing all of its docks in FY18 grew by 8 percent to a record 36 million tons of containerized, breakbulk and bulk cargoes. Forest products at the Brunswick facility increased by 34.5 percent for a total of 138,653 tons. Machinery, rubber and paper, pushed the breakbulk total at Savannah's Ocean Terminal to 1.35 million tons, up 10 percent or 122,305 tons compared to FY2017.
The GPA board Monday approved funding to add 15 refrigerated container racks at Savannah's Garden City Terminal, the fourth-largest container-handling facility in the country. That additional racks will accommodate 360 containers handling refrigerated items, GPA said.