After recording the second-busiest February in its history, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) says it now handles one out of every 8.8 loaded twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) container units in the U.S., marking its highest national market share ever.
The Port of Savannah moved 11.4% of the nation’s loaded international containers for fiscal year 2023 through December, with more than 2 million TEUs. That means the GPA’s share of the U.S. container trade showed an increase of 0.7%, the facility said.
Those numbers echo similar results showing that the top 10 North American ports by volume from largest to smallest are Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Houston, Virginia, Northwest Seaport Alliance, Charleston, Oakland, and Jacksonville. That ranking reflects mid-year 2022 total container volumes (both imports and exports), as recorded by the industrial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.
According to Cushman & Wakefield, Savannah had 5.3% more TEUs at mid-year 2022 than 2021, gaining ground on ports that posted losses over that same period, such as Los Angeles, Northwest Seaport Alliance, Oakland, and Jacksonville.
Georgia’s expansion comes as freight flows have shifted from long-standing patterns due to pressures like the pandemic and to sustained port congestion last year off the U.S. West Coast. In addition, retailers are currently ordering less new inventory as they keep a wary eye on consumer spending levels amid high inflation and interest rates, the National Retail Federal says. Together, those forces pushed import cargo volume at the nation’s major container ports to sink near a three-year low point in February.
Against that backdrop, Georgia Ports boosted its portion of U.S. container exports to 12.3% over the period spanning July through December 2022 – up 0.4% compared to the same period in the previous year. On the other side of the ledger, Savannah’s share of the import market rose nearly three-quarters of a point to 11.1% for the fiscal year to date through December.
“Our global economy is facing headwinds, but Georgia’s deepwater ports continue to deliver dependable performance to keep business thriving,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said in a release. “As the nation’s top gateway for American farm and factory exports, the Port of Savannah serves as a hub for global commerce, linking every major ocean carrier calling the U.S. East Coast with superior connections to road and rail.”
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