GPA Board Considers Projects in Brunswick and Savannah

Brunswick, Ga. – March 19, 2012 – The Georgia Ports Authority board today considered two projects that will greatly increase capacity, efficiency and environmental savings.

In Brunswick, the Board approved renovations to the Colonel’s Island terminal that will accommodate growth in the heavy construction equipment and machinery trade. “This project will provide greater flexibility in moving oversized roll-on/roll-off cargo at Colonel’s Island,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “It will increase efficiency, and lower long-term maintenance costs by providing a more durable surface for moving and staging these heavy cargos.”

The project, estimated to cost $2.8 million, will provide structural upgrades for roads, bridges, staging areas and rail loading/offloading areas. The project is in support of 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.

For fiscal year 2012 through February, Colonel’s Island has handled 330,709 units, and 641,408 tons of autos and machinery, for a 10 percent increase year over year. During the same period last fiscal year, Colonel’s Island handled 301,345 units and 581,479 tons of Ro/Ro cargo. In all of FY2011, Brunswick handled 897,152 tons of autos and machinery.

In Savannah, the Board considered recent efforts to accommodate strong growth in the movement of refrigerated cargo.

The first half of a 20-unit expansion in refrigerated container racks is now in operation. The other 10 will go into use by April. Each new rack will accommodate 24 refrigerated containers, for a total of 480 containers of added capacity. With these new units, the GPA will have a total of 64 refrigerated container racks in service, accommodating 1,536 boxes. For every ten racks placed into service, the GPA saves about 540,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, which otherwise would have been used to power diesel generators.

The Port of Savannah is adding the racks in order to stay ahead of rising demand for frozen poultry and produce exports. In February, the GPA handled 5,496 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) of refrigerated goods, a 14.4 percent increase over the same month last year, which saw 4,803 TEUs. For fiscal year 2012 to date, that number is 45,733, a 16.7 percent increase over the same period in FY2011, which marked 39,166 TEUs.

Most of the refrigerated container business is in poultry, an $18.4 billion per year business in Georgia, according to the University of Georgia.

“As the top container port for American poultry exports, this expansion will not only grow the Port of Savannah’s capacity, but produce additional opportunity to export U.S.-grown products to the world,” said GPA Board Chairman Alec Poitevint.

Nearly 40 percent of America’s poultry exports move through the Port of Savannah, with Hong Kong, Angola, Georgia and China ranking as the top receiving nations.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 295,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $15.5 billion in income, $61.7 billion in revenue and $2.6 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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