The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) handled record Roll-on/Roll-off volumes in Fiscal Year 2023, at more than 723,500 units, an increase of 18 per cent or nearly 109,000 units over the previous year.
“The Port of Brunswick achieved strong growth in the import and export of heavy machinery, while auto manufacturers’ improved microchip supply also meant an increase in vehicles,” said GPA President/CEO Griff Lynch. “I’d like to thank our customers for their continued confidence in Brunswick as a superior gateway to the U.S., and the auto processors for the world-class service they are providing.”
RoRo imports were up by 99,000 units year-over-year, or 24 per cent, while exports increased by 11,500 units or more than 7 per cent. Besides expanding existing business, GPA added Nissan as a Brunswick customer in FY2023. Colonel’s Island Terminal now handles Nissan imports from Japan and Mexico.
According to the most recent PIERS data, the Port of Savannah achieved 11.2 per cent market share in container trade among U.S. ports on the East, West and Gulf coasts through April, its highest ever.
“This continues a trend stemming from the U.S. Southeast’s fast-growing population, increased domestic production and a shift in overseas manufacturing toward India and Southeast Asia, favouring delivery via Savannah,” Lynch said. “I’d like to commend GPA employees and our partners at Gateway Terminals and the International Longshoremen’s Association for their outstanding work during our second busiest year ever.”
A total of 5.4 million twenty-foot equivalent container units crossed GPA docks in FY2023, down 6.7 per cent or 387,000 TEUs compared to FY2022, GPA’s all-time high. However, compared to pre-pandemic volumes of 4.5 million TEUs in FY2019, GPA’s performance increased by 20 per cent. Its compound annual growth rate since FY 2019 is 4.7 per cent yearly.
“Georgia Ports’ steady long-term growth is thanks to outstanding customer service and superior global connections,” said GPA Board Chairman Kent Fountain. “These are certainly contributing factors behind Area Development magazine ranking Georgia the top state for doing business since 2014.”
Record trade at the Appalachian Regional Port was another highlight in FY2023. The inland terminal handled its highest volumes ever, at 33,700 rail lifts, an increase of more than 18 per cent or 5,200 containers.
GPA is investing $1.9 billion in infrastructure projects to prepare for future demand. Enhancements include renovations to Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal, increasing berth capacity there by 25 per cent. An improved Berth 1 reopened to vessel service on July 20, providing faster turn times for ocean carriers.
A new transload facility will deliver greater speed and flexibility for customers in cargo handling. At the same time, the Garden City West development adds 100 acres of long-term storage available at a lower cost than in the regular container yard.
Upgrades now under construction at the Port of Brunswick include 640,000 square feet of new processing space across five new buildings and 122 acres of additional auto storage. The new acreage will increase RoRo capacity from 1.2 million to 1.4 million vehicles annually. Two near-dock warehouses and three buildings on the south side of Colonel’s Island start coming online in August. GPA has also won federal approval to construct a fourth RoRo berth at Colonel’s Island. Berth 4, now in the engineering phase, will better accommodate carriers in the 7,000-vehicle class.
“New business and new capacity are establishing the Port of Brunswick as the nation’s premier auto port,” said Fountain. “Already the largest U.S. terminal in current acreage and room to grow, Colonel’s Island offers exporters a broad ocean carrier network and provides importers easy access to the region’s dealerships.”
Also in Brunswick’s favour: It is well positioned for short-sea trade out of Mexico.
“As manufacturers continue to invest and ramp up production in that region, Colonel’s Island is in a strong position to capitalize on this trade lane,” said GPA Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron. “We have already begun to see the benefits of Brunswick’s first port-of-call status from Mexico.”
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