Monday, October 16, 2017

Savannah moves 1M TEUs in 1Q, plots rail growth

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Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch delivers his State of the Port address, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Savannah, Ga. Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch delivers his State of the Port address, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Savannah, Ga. Georgia Ports Authority/Stephen Morton

The Port of Savannah moved more than one million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) at Garden City Terminal in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, as traffic increased by 5.8% or 55,629 TEUs over the same period in FY17.

In September alone, the GPA moved 325,141 TEUs, an increase of 5.4% or 16,792 TEUs on-year.

"Sustained organic growth coupled with increased market share are driving these volume increases," said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. "We have also achieved major gains through the addition of Neo-Panamax vessels to the fleet serving Garden City Terminal."

Container tons grew by 8.1%, or 543,761 tons, to 7.23 million tons for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

During the annual Savannah State of the Port address, Lynch outlined an infrastructure improvement plan to accommodate growth, expand existing markets and develop new ones. The authority's $128-million Mega-Rail project will increase rail lift capacity at Garden City to 1 million containers per year by 2020. The project will add 97,000 feet of new track, including 18 new working tracks, and bring all switching on-terminal. The goal of accommodating trains up to two miles long will position the port to provide faster service to the U.S. Midwest.

The plan includes the purchase of 10 additional ship-to-shore cranes, for a total of 36. Four cranes will arrive in 2018, and the final six by 2020, allowing Garden City Terminal to move 1,300 containers per hour on and off vessels.

In 2018, the GPA's Appalachian Regional Port, an inland terminal in Chatsworth, Ga., will open for service. The CSX-served container yard will expand the Port of Savannah's reach into Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

Also in the coming year, the GPA will add six truck lanes at Garden City Terminal for a total of 54 lanes, a 12.5% increase.

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