(The Center Square) — The Georgia Ports Authority saw a record freight volume during fiscal 2022, reporting an 8% increase in container volumes
In June, the Port of Savannah handled a record 494,107 twenty-foot equivalent container units in total cargo, an increase of 10.6% over June 2021. For fiscal 2022, the port reported more than 5.7 million TEUs.
Port officials say that West Coast labor talks, delayed access to rail at those ports and trade diverted from the Port of Charleston in South Carolina have benefited the Savannah port. However, they say that uncertainty around the labor talks, unexpected vessel calls and vessel diversions to Savannah have resulted in more vessels "waiting at anchor" than usual.
"Despite the record volumes, the Port of Savannah remains fluid," GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said in an announcement. "Several factors have contributed to our growing container capacity, including expedited infrastructure projects, our inland pop-up yards and an influx of truck drivers moving to the Southeast."
Because of the increased demand, the GPA added 166 new workers in fiscal 2022. It has a total of 1,647 "direct employees."
Meanwhile, at its regular July meeting, the GPA board approved spending more than $30.2 million to buy 12 new rubber-tired gantry cranes. The purchase will bring to 234 the number of RTGs at Savannah; the port has 198, and an additional 24 were already on order.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved S. 3883, the Port of Brunswick Navigation Channel Improvement Act, legislation that U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, says will expand capacity and reduce supply chain bottlenecks at the Port of Brunswick. The port is the country's second busiest roll-on/roll-off facility.
Proponents say the more than $14.4 million project to expand the port's channel would allow newer ships to use the port, thereby boosting efficiency. The federal government plans to kick in more than $10.7 million for the project.
"Georgia's port infrastructure supports prosperity in Coastal Georgia, helps make our state a world leader in logistics, and is essential to the continued growth of our manufacturing sector," Ossoff said in a statement.