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GPA : A record level of container trade in Year 2021

The Georgia Ports Authority achieved a record level of container trade in Calendar Year 2021, handling more than 5.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units of cargo. By June, the GPA will grow the Port of Savannah’s annual container capacity by 1.6 million TEUs, an increase of 25 percent.  

Expanding terminal capacity by 25 percent

SAVANNAH – The Port of Savannah moved a record 5.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in Calendar Year 2021, growing volumes by a million TEUs, or 20 percent, compared to 2020. In Brunswick, Colonel’s Island Terminal handled 649,550 units of cars, trucks, and machinery, an increase of 10.6 percent.

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“While Georgia’s maritime logistics community has been tested by a challenging year, I am proud of our ports’ achievements to keep cargo flowing, support jobs and industry across the region and the world, and to serve customers in every corner of the state,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “The Georgia Ports Authority not only powers economic success in the Peach State, but it has also served as an example to the nation in solving the supply chain crisis.”

The Port of Savannah has experienced 12 consecutive months of record container growth. December was no exception, with a record 465,000 TEUs handled, and an all-time high of 312,000 truck gate moves. Counting Roll-on/Roll-off cargo handled via Ocean Terminal in Savannah, GPA moved a total of 668,166 units, an increase of 11 percent or 65,400 units.

In intermodal rail, the Port of Savannah grew by 10 percent in 2021, topping 538,000 container lifts, or nearly 1 million TEUs, a record. The addition of nine working tracks in November expanded the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 2 million TEUs per year, an immediate increase of 30 percent. The expanded rail yard allows Savannah to build and receive six 10,000-foot long trains simultaneously, speeding the flow of international trade to and from the nation’s third-busiest container gateway.

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“Our expanded rail and yard capacity, along with new operational practices, allowed GPA to overcome serious headwinds in the international supply chain,” said Executive Director Griff Lynch. “The team – including our GPA employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association, stevedores, shipping lines, pilots, motor carriers and rail – came together to handle an unprecedented level of business last year.”

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In 2021, Georgia Ports expedited the purchase of new equipment, completion of new capacity on the terminal, and hiring to accommodate the increased demand for services. In total, GPA added four rail-mounted gantry cranes, 10 rubber-tired gantry cranes, 145 employees, and an annual yard capacity of 400,000 TEUs.

“Together, we are delivering on a promise of world-class customer service,” said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten. “With the expedited capacity projects that are already coming online, our customers can have confidence in our ability to grow along with their businesses.”

GPA capacity efforts paying off

In March, GPA will add 500,000 TEUs of annual capacity, growing to a total of 1.6 million TEUs of new capacity by June – a 25 percent increase in Savannah’s previous capacity for container trade. At the Port of Brunswick, major expansion efforts are underway at Colonel’s Island that will increase Ro/Ro capacity to 1.3 million units by the end of the year, as well as add new services to prepare vehicles for export.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 496,700 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $29 billion in income, $122 billion in revenue, and $3.4 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 9.3 percent of total U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2020.

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