Georgia Ports Set Ro/Ro Record

Savannah, Ga. – May 21, 2012 – The Georgia Ports Authority marked a record month in April for autos and the fourth busiest month in the Authority’s history for total tonnage.

In autos and heavy machinery, the GPA handled 60,974 units.

“The Colonel’s Island terminal at the Port of Brunswick handled the majority of this roll-on/roll-off cargo, with 59,926 units,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Georgia’s deepwater ports are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the growing export market for vehicles and heavy equipment produced in Georgia and around the Southeast.”

The Colonel’s Island Terminal volume increased 57.7 percent over April 2011, or 21,916 additional units. For the fiscal year to date, Brunswick has handled 448,118 units, a 17.5 percent increase over FY11 to date, or 66,603 additional units.

In anticipation of increased heavy machinery exports, the GPA board in March approved $2.8 million in structural upgrades at Colonel’s Island for roads, bridges, staging areas and rail loading/offloading areas. The Brunswick facility is the nation’s fifth busiest port for total import-export of Ro/Ro cargo, and the third busiest port for the export of U.S.-made vehicles and machinery.

“The GPA’s strong performance in a number of commodities, along with a continued dominant market share in the Southeast for containerized cargo, highlights the flexibility of our ports to serve a broad range of shipping customers,” said Board Chairman Alec Poitevint.

Across all terminals, the ports handled 2.3 million tons in April, the fourth highest volume on record, and less than 75,000 tons from the all-time high set in March.

Ocean Terminal handled 132,441 tons of break bulk cargo in April, up 18.8 percent or 20,981 tons from the same month in the previous year. For the fiscal year to date, the terminal handled 1.06 million tons of break bulk cargo, up 19 percent over FY2011 through April.

At the board meeting, Foltz reviewed March and April container volumes moved through the Port of Savannah. During the month of March, the Port of Savannah handled 259,795 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), a 9 percent increase over March 2011, or an additional 21,782 units. In April, 248,886 TEUs moved across GPA’s docks, a 4.2 percent decrease from April 2011, but still 11,810 units more than February’s volume. “The modest container volume growth for the year is reflective of a very fragile U.S. economic recovery and ongoing consumer uncertainty for the balance of 2012,” said Foltz.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a resolution in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommendation to deepen the Savannah Harbor to 47 feet to accommodate post-Panamax container vessels.
  • Approved a resolution requesting the issuance of $60 million in general obligation bonds to cover mitigation engineering, design and construction costs associated with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The state has approved the issuance of up to $181 million in such bonds to fund SHEP.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah was the second busiest U.S. container port for the export of American goods by tonnage in FY2011. It also handled 8.7 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 12.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2011.
 

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