The Georgia Ports Authority handled more than 315,000 containers during fiscal year 2013 — July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013 — a record for the GPA.
Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz highlighted record cargo volumes and additional business in his State of the Port address.
“Not only did the port authority achieve strong growth across major segments of our business, but the private sector responded with the lease or development of more than 1.1 million square feet of distribution center space,” Foltz said. “Of the added space, more than 300,000 square feet is dedicated to cold storage — strengthening Georgia’s position in the expanding cold chain logistics market.”
In addition to the record container volume, the GPA handled a record 27 million tons of cargo, an increase of 651,250 tons or 2.4 percent. Its ports handled 637,000 auto and machinery units, an increase of 11.7 percent, and 2.5 million tons of bulk cargo, up 62 percent. Foltz said the total tonnage growth was a result of the GPA’s varied cargo mix, including the container trade, agribulk, and breakbulk cargos such as forest products, and autos and machinery.
New customers contributing to the distribution center growth included Nordic Logistics, Gulf States Cold Storage, appliance maker Haier America, medical supplier Dukal, third-party logistics provider OHL, Kent Bicycle, Giumarra International Berry and Huffy Bicycles. In roll-on, roll-off cargo, GPA gains were tied in part to new export business from Toyota and Nissan, as well import vehicles from Subaru.
Foltz also discussed GPA’s capital improvement plan, including $186 million allocated to capital improvement for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Improvements include the addition of four super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes and 20 rubber-tire gantry cranes, a 500-ton heavy-lift barge crane, 20 new 24-slot refrigerated container rack and upgrades to mooring bollards to serve larger ships.
In FY 2013, the GPA received final approval to deepen the harbor of the Port of Savannah. The U.S. Army’s Record of Decision found the project to deepen the river from 42 to 47 feet is economically feasible and environmentally sound. Also, Georgia completed a successful mediation with South Carolina environmental interests and allocated another $50 million to construction. The state has thus far dedicated $231 million to the harbor expansion.
“The final step before dredging can begin is for Congress to update the approved expenditure to the current estimate of $652 million,” Foltz said. “We’re looking forward to this final action by Congress to allow construction to move forward.”