Rail-mounted gantry cranes transfer containers from trains to trucks on the Mason Mega Rail Terminal at the Port of Savannah. The first nine working tracks on the expanded rail yard are now operational. The second set of nine tracks will be commissioned in the summer of 2021.
After the Georgia Ports Authority handled all-time record volumes in the month of August, Griff Lynch, executive director for the GPA, reported to the Board of Directors today that the Port of Savannah is on track to achieve a monthly record for September, expecting to move more than 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units this month.
“We frankly didn’t anticipate growth for the months of August and September, but we are gratified by the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our employees,” said Lynch. “Although there is still much work to be done, Savannah’s status as the Number 1 export port means it will play a critical role in the nation’s economic recovery.”
Based on cargo bookings, GPA is projecting more than 5 percent growth compared to September 2019. The Appalachian Regional Port (ARP), GPA’s inland terminal in northwest Georgia, Murray County, also reported record volumes in August and projects similar results for September.
“The ARP and our Mason Mega Rail project are both examples of GPA’s proactive approach to planning, development and completion of projects well ahead of demand,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “Clearly, our ability to handle additional volumes related to exponential increases in e-commerce and a renewed demand for American-made export products is helping to produce these positive numbers.”
The ARP nearly doubled its cargo for the month of August to 6,156 TEUs and is anticipating similar growth in September. During the board meeting Monday, the Authority approved adding six new container storage bays, totaling 230 TEU slots to handle additional demand at the inland terminal. The added bays will increase annual capacity by 15,000 TEUs and be complete by the end of the year.
The ARP provides an alternative to an all-truck dray to and from the Port of Savannah for target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. Each roundtrip container offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways.
The ARP also offers an efficient solution to challenges related to hours of service for truck drivers. GE Appliances recently opened its $32 million Southern Logistics Center in Murray County, just two miles from the inland terminal. Additionally, Huali Floors, a manufacturer of resilient flooring, has announced plans to establish its first U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Murray County.
“I want to thank Governor Kemp and the team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development for
the recent announcements of new jobs and private investments in and around Murray County that are helping to drive business through the ARP,” said Lynch. “This team approach to economic development is the reason industry publications have consistently ranked Georgia as the Number 1 state to do business in this country.”
Other ongoing projects to increase capacity at GPA include the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, now 75 percent complete and the Mason Mega Rail Terminal which is close to 50 percent complete. Recently, GPA reconfigured a portion of the Garden City Terminal container yard to add more than 11,000 TEUs of container storage; and purchased an adjacent parcel to grow Garden City Terminal to 1,345 acres.
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017