The Port of Savannah moved a record number of container units in its fiscal year ending June 30, thanks largely to its growing capacity to handle intermodal boxes via rail, port officials said today.
The rising numbers came six months after the port said it had set an earlier record for calendar year 2018, and reported continuing progress on infrastructure improvement projects in harbor dredging, new cranes, and rail capacity.
Now the latest figures show the results of that work, as the Port of Savannah moved a record 4.5 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in its 2019 fiscal year, an increase of more than 305,000 TEUs or 7.3 percent, the Georgia Ports Authority said.
For the first time ever, GPA handled more than half a million container lifts to rail, growing that number by more than 72,000, or 16.6 percent. The 506,707 intermodal boxes constituted more than 20 percent of total containers, another record.
"Our team on the terminal—GPA employees, the International Longshoremen's Association, and our two Class 1 rail providers, CSX and Norfolk Southern—are moving more freight faster and more efficiently than ever before in our history," Griff Lynch, GPA's executive director, said in a release. "Rail cargo is expanding at twice the rate of our overall container trade, reducing congestion on our highways and increasing Georgia's reach to a mid-American arc of cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, and Columbus, Ohio."
The port plans to handle that growth through its Mason Mega Rail project, which is set to double Savannah's rail capacity and create the largest on-terminal intermodal facility in North America. Now just 35 percent complete, the new facility will be able to handle 1 million containers per year when it opens in 2021, the port said.
In other freight, the port moved nearly 650,000 autos and machinery units at its Port of Brunswick and Ocean Terminal in Savannah roll-on/roll-off facilities. And the port's East River Terminal in Brunswick site moved 1.2 million tons of bulk cargo in FY2019, an increase of 203,000 tons, or 20 percent. The improvement was largely associated with an increase in wood pellets, peanut pellets, and perlite--the round, white specks seen in potting soil--according to the port.
The Port of #Savannah moved a record 4.5 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in the fiscal year that ended June 30, an increase of more than 305,000 TEUs, or 7.3 percent. Details: https://t.co/jfLFcjoQnU. #GeorgiaPorts #gaports #ports #Georgia pic.twitter.com/f8eyuRM8cb— Georgia Ports (@GaPorts) July 30, 2019