Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Board has announced its plans to accelerate the completion of its container capacity expansion, which is scheduled to add more than 1.6 million TEU annual capacity by June 2022.
Particularly, GPA will open 670,000TEU of new annual capacity at Garden City Terminal by January, while an additional terminal capacity of 155,000 TEU will be available in early March. Furthermore, another 850,000 TEU is expected to be added at the port until June.
These projects are estimated to deliver a total capacity increase of 25% in six months, according to a GPA's statement.
The GPA Board has also approved the US$24.4 million purchase of nine electric-powered rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes to support the expansion project, five of which arrived at the Port of Savannah on 3 December. In total, 29 RTGs are projected to be delivered in the US port.
"After our busiest month ever in October, this new container space is coming online just in time," said GPA Board Chairman, Joel Wooten.
Indeed, the Port of Savannah handled a total of 504,350 TEU in October, which translates to an increase of 8.7% over the same month of 2020. This performance surpassed GPA’s previous all-time record of 498,000 TEU set in March.
"Moving more than half a million TEU across our docks in one month is the result of new capacity already coming online and the incredible teamwork of GPA employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association and port customers," commented Executive Director of GPA Board, Griff Lynch.
Off-terminal, GPA has announced that it is also expanding its inland port strategy by another half-million TEU annually to include flexible "pop-up" container yards near manufacturing and distribution centres.
In addition, the port authority has activated the yards in partnership with its two rail providers, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, as well as regional property owners.
Four locations in Atlanta, Savannah, Statesboro, and Murray County in Northwest Georgia are currently running, increasing capacity by reducing unnecessary container storage time on Garden City Terminal.
The GPA is also arranging additional sites, which will bring the total added capacity for this new supply chain program to 500,000TEU. The new facilities are also anticipated to significantly reduce truck traffic.
Lynch said with the new capacity arriving and customers clearing cargo more quickly, the Port of Savannah has already seen a dramatic drop in the length of time containers are on the terminal. He also noted that the number of import containers staying on the port for more than four weeks has dropped by 53% compared to September.
"Through ingenuity and teamwork, GPA has put into place what amounts to the largest current expansion for a port operation in North America," said Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, who went on to point out that "it is a testament to the leadership and forward-thinking at America’s most efficient gateway for containerised trade."