Container volumes grew more than 11 percent in Savannah last year and the port authority is investing in further expansion to accommodate even more growth in the near future.
The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.73 million TEUs in 2015, up 11.4 percent compared to the previous calendar year.
The Georgia Ports Authority attributed the gains to cargo diversion from the West Coast as shippers sought to avoid backlogs due to temporary productivity slowdowns, population growth in the Southeast fueling consumer demand for imports and Savannah’s ability to keep cargo moving smoothly because of infrastructure and operating capabilities.
Total tonnage across all terminals, including the Port of Brunswick, reached an all-time high of 31.48 tons, up 3.6 percent. Container tonnage accounted for most of that growth, adding 991,031 tons (up 4 percent) for a total of 25.81 million tons. Bulk cargo grew 2.2 percent to 2.86 million tons, while breakbulk cargo grew 1.7 percent to 2.79 million tons.
Meanwhile, the GPA’s board of commissioners on Monday approved the purchase of four new ship-to-shore cranes for $47 million from Konecranes in Finland. When installed, Savannah will have 30 cranes to work container vessels. The cranes are expected to arrive from Nantong, China, in late spring 2018. The super post-Panamax cranes will have a reach of 22 slots and a part of ongoing preparations to receive bigger vessels now being operated by liner carriers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers embarked last year on a multi-year project to deepen the Savannah River.
The port’s Garden City Terminal, which stretches nearly two miles, has 22 cranes and will add four previously purchased cranes this year.
The board also approved $8.2 million for Phase III construction of a new empty container depot.