With nearly 13% growth in container traffic over the first two months of the fiscal year, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has made a strong start to the 2015 business year.
For July and August, the GPA moved 595,711 teu, up 12.9% or 68,246 teu compared to the same period last year. Both months set consecutive throughput records, with 293,889 teu crossing GPA docks in July and 301,822 teu in August. The August number grew by 21,009 teu, or 7.5%, compared to the same month a year ago. Containers moved by rail also reached record levels in August, at 52,711 teu.
“To accommodate growth at these levels, we are taking the necessary steps to expand capacity now,” said authority executive director Curtis Foltz. “Infrastructure improvements, which include additional cranes, operational improvements and container storage consolidation, will increase annual throughput capacity from 4.5m to 6.5m teu.”
At a board meeting on 29 September, the GPA also approved the latest phase of container storage consolidation, which will add space for additional teu on Garden City Terminal.
By 2024, the Garden City Terminal will feature some 30 ship-to-shore cranes, up from the current 22, and 169 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes, Foltz said. The GPA currently employs 116 RTGs to handle shipping containers on the terminal.
In the next two weeks, port officials are expected to sign the cost-sharing agreement with the federal government needed to begin deepening the channel to the Port of Savannah, meaning work on the US$700m project could begin in a few months.
“Everybody is elated that it now looks like the final authorisation is going to happen,” said Foltz.