Port of Savannah records a drop in cargo volume in January

The Port of Savannah saw an 11.5 percent decline in total cargo volume last month compared to January 2022 as retail and manufacturing orders fell, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced today.

The Port of Savannah handled a total of 421,714 TEUs in January, dragged down by a 16 percent year-on-year drop in imports. Compared to pre-pandemic numbers, last month was up 11.7 percent ahead of January 2020, when the port handled 377,671 TEU.

The falling cargo volumes come after Port of Savannah handled a record 5.9 million TEUs in 2022.

US exports were a bright spot for GPA in January as loaded container exports from the Port of Savannah rose 21 percent year-on-year to 110,305 TEU. Meanwhile, the number of empty export containers via Savannah fell by 34,650 TEU as there was less demand for Asian goods served by the empty containers.

Weather also played a role, GPA said, delaying six ships scheduled to call at Savannah in late January through February.

GPA Board Chair Joel Wooten said the agency is using the current reduction in traffic to make progress on infrastructure projects that will be needed when demand returns.

“A willingness to seize opportunities as they arise requires steady leadership and an eye on long-term trends,” Wooten said. “Our board’s commitment to continually improving infrastructure, even during downtime, means our customers have a ready growth partner when they need to expand their businesses in Georgia.”

The GPA provided the following updates on capital improvement projects:

A project designed to allow Garden City Terminal Berth 1 to service larger vessels is now 80 percent complete. The first four of eight massive cranes scheduled for Berth 1 arrived on February 9th. When the improvements to Berth 1 are completed in July, the port will be able to serve four vessels with a capacity in excess of 16,000 TEU plus three other vessels simultaneously. The expanded berth will increase annual berth capacity by 1.5 million TEU. The improvements will allow for faster ship service and better accommodate the large ships calling at Savannah.

In addition to the Port of Savannah’s main container terminal, the Garden City Terminal West project will provide an additional 90 acres of new storage space supported by 15 electric rubber-tired gantry cranes. This project, now 20 percent complete, will increase annual capacity by 1 million TEU and will be phased online in 2023 and 2024.

Together with a new cross-dock facility and renovations at the Ocean Terminal, the projects will increase the Port of Savannah’s annual capacity from 6 million to 7.5 million TEUs in 2023 and to 9 million TEUs by 2025. Learn more about GPA’s growth plans here.

Port of Brunswick

In the port of Braunschweig, trade in cars and heavy machinery grew by 9 percent in January, by 4,600 units to 57,127. For the financial year to date, Braunschweig has increased by 16.7 percent to over 411,000 roll-on/roll-off units.

GPA is upgrading Colonel’s Island Terminal to accommodate Ro/Ro cargo carried by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean. Construction has begun on 350,000 square feet of warehouse near the dock that will be used for automated processing, as well as three additional buildings and 85 acres of auto storage on the south side of the island. The expansion will increase Braunschweig’s annual capacity from 1.2 million to 1.4 million units of Ro/Ro cargo.

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