The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) named a new chairman today, and said that its Port of Savannah facility had its busiest April ever, pushing its fiscal year-to-date totals to 3.7 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs), an increase of 8.7 percent compared to the same period in FY2018.
The figures follow a trend of record highs at many other ports, as retail imports continue to rise inresponse to the Trump Administration's moves to broaden tariffs on Chinese goods.
Georgia Ports said William D. McKnight will become chairman on July 1, following his service as vice chairman since 2018. He will be replaced as vice chairman by Patrick "Kelly" Farr Jr.
McKnight replaces outgoing Chairman Jimmy Allgood, who has seen annual container volumes grew from 3.6 million TEUs to an estimated 4.5 million TEUs over his three-year tenure. "During Jimmy's tenure, we've seen the completion of the outer harbor deepening, we've purchased 10 ship-to-shore cranes, kicked off construction of the largest on-terminal rail facility in the country, and expanded our auto capacity," McKnight said in a release. "Now, we have to continue that momentum to bring the efficiencies of Georgia's deepwater terminals to even more customers."
In a statement, McKnight said he expected to continue that record of steady growth, while also attracting a new profile of small business users to the port's operations. "I'm excited to help lead the GPA at a time when Gov. Kemp has made the success of small business a major priority," McKnight said. "Our ports' role in helping Georgia companies connect with buyers across the globe can mean a world of difference to small operations hoping to expand."
GPA posted volume of 76,000 TEUs of intermodal cargo for April, an 11 percent increase over the same month last year. Total container cargo in April reached record volumes of 364,481 TEUs at the Port of Savannah, an increase of 1.9 percent or 6,700 TEUs.
One specific source of growth is GPA's expansion of its auto-handling capacity at the Port of Brunswick—including upgrades of approximately 33 acres, new pavement striping, and new facility gates for trucks and other vehicles—allowing it to accommodate BMW, one of Georgia's longest standing and largest auto processing customers.