The volume of containers handled by the Port of Savannah dropped 4 percent in July year-over-year and was down 2.6 percent from June, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.
Container throughput in July fell to 252,131 20-foot-equivalent units from 262,723 TEUs in the same month last year and from the June’s 258,951 TEUs.
Despite the July falloff, container throughput for the calendar year through July rose 2.8 percent to 1,760,498 TEUs from 1,713,298 TEUs for the first seven months of 2011.
In his annual State-of-the-Port address Thursday, GPA Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz said the port handled a record container volume of 2.98 million TEUs in fiscal 2012, which ended June 30.
The tonnage of cargo handled by the ports of Savannah and Brunswick also hit a new record of 26.5 million tons, an increase of 561,038 tons from fiscal 2011.
Breakbulk cargo saw 15.6 percent growth over fiscal 2011, to 2.53 million tons, for an increase of 342,446 tons.
In autos and machinery units, Colonel’s Island at the Port of Brunswick led the GPA to greater than 19 percent growth. Georgia Ports moved an all-time high of 569,984 roll-on, roll-off units across all terminals in fiscal 2012.
Foltz said the ports continue to attract distribution centers by large companies that use their terminals. New DCs announced in fiscal 2012 included Lowe’s $125 million, 1.4 million-square-foot regional distribution center in Rome, Ga. The company will hire up to 600 employees by 2016.
In addition, Mohawk Industries announced a 500-job expansion at its Summerville factory, recycling plastic containers into carpet fibers.
Local distribution centers around the Port of Savannah had an 85.7 percent occupancy rate in calendar year 2011, out of a total 44.1 million square feet, Foltz said.
The port added five new shipping services in fiscal 2012, ending the year with the most weekly services to Asia of any port on the East Coast. Total vessel calls reached a record 2,916 in fiscal year 2012.