Port of Savannah moves 5M TEUs

Mega Rail Terminal and Cargo Hub Growth

The Port of Savannah was the first container terminal in the Southeast or Gulf Coast to move
5 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in a fiscal year. 
(Georgia Ports Authority / Jeremy Polston)

CONTAINER HUB GROWING CAPACITY AND CONTINUED GROWTH

 

SAVANNAH, Ga., July 26, 2021 – For the first time in its history, the Port of Savannah has moved 5.3 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, growth in cargo volumes by 20 percent in FY2021, or nearly 900,000 TEUs compared to the previous year. 

“American companies continue to choose the Port of Savannah as a critical gateway to global trade,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “Our ports play a major role in Georgia being named the number one state for business eight years in a row. I am thankful to GPA for their great work over the past year to grow Georgia’s trading capacity and expand our world-class business environment.”

Incoming GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten thanked previous Chairman Will McKnight and Gov. Kemp for their leadership during a challenging year, as well as the partners and customers who helped Georgia Ports achieve record growth.

“GPA leadership, our employees and our partners across the logistics community put in tremendous effort to make this milestone possible,” Wooten said. “Growing our business by 20 percent in a single year is an amazing accomplishment and secures Savannah’s position as the fastest growing gateway in the nation over the past 10 years.”

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said the Savannah Harbor deepening, the Mason Mega Rail terminal and other capacity enhancements are not only preparing GPA for the present influx of cargo, but also for future demand.  

“A major strength for the Port of Savannah is its ability to respond to the needs of customers as they expand their positions in Georgia,” Lynch said. “As port users continue to route additional cargo to Georgia, we are bullish on the future. We have an abundance of near-port property available for development, and GPA is right now adding millions of TEUs of additional capacity in Savannah.”

GPA’s trade in autos and heavy machinery also saw significant growth. Roll-on/Roll-off volumes reached 703,528 units crossing all GPA docks in FY2021, with the Port of Brunswick alone handling more than 685,000 units of vehicles and heavy machinery. Total Ro/Ro volume grew by 18 percent over the previous fiscal year, or an additional 106,150 units.

 

Highlights from the fiscal year include:

  • A 14 percent increase in total rail volumes at Garden City Terminal, up 68,000 lifts to a total of nearly 550,000 rail lifts on the year. At the Appalachian Regional Port, rail lifts grew by nearly 26 percent, an increase of 7,000, for an annual total of more than 34,000 lifts.
  • GPA added 210,000 TEUs of capacity at the Port of Savannah through expanded container handling space and equipment at Ocean Terminal.
  • The 16,000-TEU CMA CGM Marco Polo, the largest container ship to ever serve the U.S. East Coast, called on Garden City Terminal, Wednesday, May 26.
  • The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is now nearly 90 percent complete. The project should wrap up in December 2021. With a high-tide depth of 54 feet, the deeper harbor will allow vessels in the 16,000+ TEU range to take on heavier loads with fewer tidal restrictions.
  • GPA’s $220 million Mason Mega Rail project is nearly By the end of 2021, GPA will commission the second set of nine new working tracks. Mason Mega Rail will increase rail lift capacity to 2 million TEUs per year.
  • Despite the pandemic interrupting supply chains, the Governor’s Office and the Georgia Department of Economic Development won $8.43 billion in investment and more than 24,000 jobs in just the first three quarters of FY2021.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 496,700 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $29 billion in income, $122 billion in revenue and $3.4 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 9.3 percent of total U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2020.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or rmorris@gaports.com.

GPA Board elects new officers

 

GPA Board elects new officers
The Georgia Ports Authority achieved its busiest April on record last month, handling 466,633 twenty-foot equivalent container units and 3.7 million tons of total cargo. (Georgia Ports Authority)

PORT OF SAVANNAH MOVES 466,000 TEUS IN APRIL

 

SAVANNAH, Ga., May 24, 2021 – Today, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) board elected new officers for the coming fiscal year and reported a 38 percent increase in container trade for the month of April.

Joel Wooten will serve as chairman, Kent Fountain as vice chairman, and Alec Poitevint as secretary-treasurer. “Joel Wooten’s eight-year tenure on the GPA board, as well as his leadership across business, law and education make him an excellent choice to continue guiding the ports of Savannah and Brunswick through the current phase of phenomenal growth,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “Along with his fellow board members and the rest of the leadership team at GPA, I am confident Georgia’s deepwater ports are in good hands.”

Wooten and Fountain’s election represents an advancement from their previous positions of vice chairman and secretary-treasurer, respectively. Poitevint, a former GPA board chairman, was serving as a member prior to becoming the Authority’s next secretary-treasurer.

“Kent and Alec’s experience and understanding will continue to be valuable assets as we prepare to accommodate the higher volumes we expect to move in the future,” said Wooten. “As a board, we are focused on delivering a world-class customer experience, and attracting new business and jobs to Georgia.”

Wooten noted that outgoing Chairman Will McKnight presided over a period of major growth during his two years at the helm. Annual container trade has increased from 4.4 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in Fiscal Year 2020 to an expected 5.2 million TEUs by the end of FY2021 (July 1-June 30) – a new record.

“The Georgia Ports Authority, as an organization, has truly answered the call over the past two years,” said McKnight. “I could not be prouder of our employees and partners, who have done outstanding work to support the needs of the U.S. economy.”

Also at the meeting, GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch reported the Port of Savannah handled 466,633 TEUs in April, its second-busiest month on record, after March’s 498,000 TEUs. The Port of Savannah’s April container trade represented an increase of 38 percent, or more than 128,700 TEUs compared to the same month last year.

“Demand for products and services both domestically and abroad is driving significant gains in Georgia’s cargo volumes. The supply chain continues to experience unprecedented increases due to the reopening of the local, regional and national economies,” Lynch said. “We could not have achieved such phenomenal growth without the dedication of our GPA employees and the collaboration of our supply chain partners.”

The rate of growth in intermodal rail lifts at Garden City Terminal slightly outpaced overall container growth, increasing by 39 percent (13,500 lifts), for a total of 48,000 twenty- and forty-foot containers. GPA’s intermodal trade accounted for more than 87,000 TEUs in April. To handle its expanding rail trade, the GPA will complete its Mason Mega Rail Terminal this year, doubling its annual rail lift capacity to 2 million TEUs. When complete, it will be the largest on-terminal rail facility for a port in North America.

April trade in Roll-on/Roll-off cargo expanded by 50 percent (21,200 units) at the Port of Brunswick, where Colonel’s Island Terminal moved 63,440 units of cars, trucks and heavy machinery. For the fiscal year to date, Colonel’s Island has handled 570,260 units, up by 10 percent or 52,000 vehicles.

GPA BOARD OFFICER BIOS

Joel O. Wooten is a founding member of the law firm of Butler Wooten & Peak, LLP.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1972, and earned a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1975. Wooten served as chair of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents from 2004-2005 and was a USG board member from 1999-2006. He has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, and has been repeatedly selected as a Georgia Super Lawyer. He received the State Bar of Georgia’s Tradition of Excellence Award in 2000, the UGA Law School’s Distinguished Service Scroll in 2012, and the Amicus Curiae Award from the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2018. He and his wife, Sybrina, have five children and five grandchildren. They reside in Columbus.

Kent Fountain serves as the President & CEO of Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. in Surrency. Fountain attended the University of Georgia where he obtained a degree in Agricultural Economics. In 1995, Fountain began Southeastern Gin, Inc. and in 2004 built a peanut buying point, and the firm became Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. In 2015, Fountain was instrumental in starting Premium Peanut, LLC, where he currently serves as Chairman. The recipient of numerous awards, Fountain received the Southeastern Ginner of the Year award in 2001 and the Horace Hayden National Ginner of the Year award in 2016. He and his wife, Missi, live in Screven and have two sons attending the University of Georgia.

Alec Poitevint is the chairman and president of Southeastern Minerals, Inc. and its affiliated companies headquartered in Bainbridge. Poitevint is a past chairman of Georgia Ports Authority, having previously served the Authority from 2007-2016. He is also a former president, vice-chairman and director of First Port City Bank of Bainbridge. He is past chairman of the American Feed Industry Association and National Feed Ingredients Association. He serves as a director of the Georgia Agribusiness Council and was Federal Commissioner of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Water Compact. Poitevint was a former mission member of the U.S. Agricultural Trade and Development Mission to Europe in 1990 and U.S. Delegate to the World Food Summit in 2002.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 496,700 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $29 billion in income, $122 billion in revenue and $3.4 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 9.3 percent of total U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2020.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or rmorris@gaports.com.

Savannah maintaining record pace for September

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Rail-mounted gantry cranes transfer containers from trains to trucks on the Mason Mega Rail Terminal at the Port of Savannah. The first nine working tracks on the expanded rail yard are now operational. The second set of nine tracks will be commissioned in the summer of 2021. Find print-quality images here. (Georgia Ports Authority / Jeremy Polston)

Mason Mega Rail arriving just in time

SAVANNAH, Ga., Sept. 28, 2020 – After the Georgia Ports Authority handled all-time record volumes in the month of August, Griff Lynch, executive director for the GPA, reported to the Board of Directors today that the Port of Savannah is on track to achieve a monthly record for September, expecting to move more than 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units this month.

“We frankly didn’t anticipate growth for the months of August and September, but we are gratified by the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our employees,” said Lynch. “Although there is still much work to be done, Savannah’s status as the Number 1 export port means it will play a critical role in the nation’s economic recovery.”

Based on cargo bookings, GPA is projecting more than 5 percent growth compared to September 2019. The Appalachian Regional Port (ARP), GPA’s inland terminal in northwest Georgia, Murray County, also reported record volumes in August and projects similar results for September. 

“The ARP and our Mason Mega Rail project are both examples of GPA’s proactive approach to planning, development and completion of projects well ahead of demand,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “Clearly, our ability to handle additional volumes related to exponential increases in e-commerce and a renewed demand for American-made export products is helping to produce these positive numbers.”

The ARP nearly doubled its cargo for the month of August to 6,156 TEUs and is anticipating similar growth in September. During the board meeting Monday, the Authority approved adding six new container storage bays, totaling 230 TEU slots to handle additional demand at the inland terminal. The added bays will increase annual capacity by 15,000 TEUs and be complete by the end of the year.

The ARP provides an alternative to an all-truck dray to and from the Port of Savannah for target markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. Each roundtrip container offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia highways. The ARP also offers an efficient solution to challenges related to hours of service for truck drivers.  GE Appliances recently opened its $32 million Southern Logistics Center in Murray County, just two miles from the inland terminal. Additionally, Huali Floors, a manufacturer of resilient flooring, has announced plans to establish its first U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Murray County.

“I want to thank Governor Kemp and the team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development for 

the recent announcements of new jobs and private investments in and around Murray County that are helping to drive business through the ARP,” said Lynch. “This team approach to economic development is the reason industry publications have consistently ranked Georgia as the Number 1 state to do business in this country.”  

Other ongoing projects to increase capacity at GPA include the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, now 75 percent complete and the Mason Mega Rail Terminal which is close to 50 percent complete. Recently, GPA reconfigured a portion of the Garden City Terminal container yard to add more than 11,000 TEUs of container storage; and purchased an adjacent parcel to grow Garden City Terminal to 1,345 acres.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or rmorris@gaports.com.

Largest container ship ever on East Coast docks in Savannah

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Posted:  Updated: 

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The largest container ship ever to serve the U.S. East Coast arrived in Savannah Friday morning.

The CMA CGM Brazil, equivalent to eight Statues of Liberty in length, began traveling up the Savannah River around 6:30 a.m. and arrived downtown around 9 a.m.

Onlookers lined River Street to take in the view and snap a few wide-angled photos.

In addition to welcoming the record-setting Brazil — with a capacity of more than 15,000, 20-foot-long container units — the Georgia Ports Authority announced it set an all-time container record last month.

The Brazil in downtown Savannah:

 

“Frankly, we weren’t expecting to experience record volumes during this pandemic, but thanks to our employees, the ILA and all of our partners who pulled together and our customers who believe in us, this announcement is possible today,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.

In August, GPA says Savannah moved more containers over its docks, more cargo through its rail yards and more trade in and out of its inland terminals than at any other point in its 75-year history.

“This is an exciting day for our port and our community,” Rep. Buddy Carter stated. “After years of hard work, this is a foreshadowing of what is to come as we continue to expand vessel capacity at the port.”

The French-owned CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt set the record back in 2017 as the East Coast’s largest ship, carrying up to 14,400 cargo containers that are 20-feet long apiece.

Wondering where the Brazil is now? Track it live online here.

The ship entered the port of New York and New Jersey earlier this week.

The Brazil will continue its East Coast journey to the Port of Charleston after it visits the Hostess City.

Watch the ship as it reached Tybee Island:

 

 

Savannah top port for US export

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During the first five months of 2020, the Port of Savannah moved the highest number of export containers of any U.S. port. At 1,345 acres, Savannah’s Garden City Terminal is the largest container terminal in North America. (Jeremy Polston / Georgia Ports Authority)

COTTON, WOOD PULP, CLAY SEE BIG GAINS

SAVANNAH, Ga., Aug. 24, 2020 – The Port of Savannah exported more loaded containers than any other port in the country from January through May, achieving a 12.2 percent market share. Garden City Terminal handled a total of 593,195 TEUs of loaded exports during the first five months of the calendar year.

“In today’s environment, businesses need every advantage to regain momentum and provide the growth that helps so many hard-working Americans to prosper,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “The Georgia Ports Authority is a powerful economic engine for the state and a key link in the supply chain for industries across the region.”

Situated at the center of a broad logistics network, Savannah offers 37 weekly container ship services reaching destinations around the world, on-terminal service from Class I railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX, and direct access to Interstates 95 and 16.

“With the expansion of the Panama Canal, and the transition of larger vessels to East Coast services, cargo owners are making the strategic decision to keep imports on the water longer,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Subsequently, export customers enjoy greater empty container availability in Savannah, lower container slot costs on Neo-Panamax vessels, and unmatched cargo fluidity through road, rail and terminal services.”

Among Savannah’s top export commodities, the biggest gainers for the period were raw cotton, which grew by 61.0 percent (16,377 TEUs) for a total of 43,234 TEUs, woodpulp, up by 15.8 percent (11,539 TEUs) for a total of 84,595 TEUs, and kaolin clay, up 23.7 percent (7,964 TEUs) for a total of 41,527 TEUs.

“Our export numbers show how the Georgia Ports Authority plays a vital role as a state and national asset, supporting farms and factories across the country,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “Terminal efficiency is about more than moving cargo quickly, it’s about helping American companies compete in the global marketplace.”

Georgia’s deepwater ports are still dealing with the impact of COVID-19, but have seen steadier trade numbers than other U.S. ports. In July, the Port of Savannah handled 360,700 TEUs, down 6.8 percent or 26,325 TEUs, compared to the same month last year. Total tonnage for the month dipped 3.1 percent, or 101,870 tons, for a total of 3.16 million tons for the first month of Fiscal Year 2021.

“Georgia’s diverse industry, its position as a major agricultural producer and its central location within the U.S. Southeast have helped to mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic on trade through our terminals,” Lynch said. “Along with our partners in the International Longshoremen’s Association, motor carriers, railroads, stevedores and the distribution centers, we have been proud to provide steady, reliable service to our customers without delays or interruptions.”

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or rmorris@gaports.com.

GPA sets tonnage record for FY2020

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Crews work the COSCO Rose at the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal. The terminal handled 4.44 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in FY2020. (Stephen B. Morton / Georgia Ports Authority)

 

Developers adding 5M square feet of industrial space

SAVANNAH, Ga., July 27, 2020 – The Port of Savannah handled 4.44 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in Fiscal Year 2020, down less than 1 percent compared to the previous year. Despite COVID-19 disruptions, total tons crossing all GPA docks reached a record 37.77 million, up 0.6 percent, or 223,000 tons, compared to FY2019. Container tons grew 2 percent (560,440 tons) to reach 33.5 million tons for the year, another record.

“Cargo volume reductions related to COVID-19 were offset by the strength of our export markets and record volumes earlier in the year,” said Griff Lynch, GPA’s executive director. “This year’s better than expected performance is the result of excellent teamwork starting at the top with Governor Kemp and our board of directors who have been champions of our ports, to our GPA team members along with the International Longshoremen’s Association, the shipping lines, stevedores, trucking and rail — you have never given in or given up throughout the crisis. Thank you for your commitment and perseverance.”

Even during challenging times, port activity coupled with ongoing expansion projects such as the harbor deepening and Mason Mega Rail have quickened the pace of commercial infrastructure investment. According to the latest report from Colliers International, 5 million square feet of industrial space are currently under construction in the Savannah market. In addition, Savannah is home to a total of 74.4 million square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space.

“What sets Savannah apart from the competition is the sheer capacity of the port’s ever-expanding footprint, on and off the terminal,” said Will McKnight, GPA’s board chairman. “Not only are we focused on the future and providing even greater value to our customers, but we have nearly unlimited potential and capacity to grow our business.”

The Port of Savannah’s status at the third-largest container gateway in the country, the nation’s top exporter of containerized agricultural goods and the fastest growing port over a 10-year period, continues to be a strong draw for economic development. Just recently, Port City Logistics announced an $80 million, 1.1 million square-foot development in the Savannah market as two major resin exporters were building out a total of 2 million square feet of new space.

In Northwest Georgia, the Appalachian Regional Port (ARP) handled more than three and a half times the cargo it did the year before, moving 27,132 containers, up 19,610 boxes. “As more customers learn the value the ARP brings to their operations, the facility continues to gain traction and build momentum,” Lynch said. “The inland port is a real success story for GPA, and we forecast business there to continue growing.”

At the GPA board meeting Monday, Lynch reported the first nine of 18 Mason Mega Rail tracks are now moving cargo at the Port of Savannah, two new mobile harbor cranes have been added to Savannah’s Ocean Terminal and a new container yard will be completed at Ocean Terminal by year’s end. Twenty new rubber-tired gantry cranes are slated to arrive at Savannah terminals by December, three new rail-mounted gantry cranes are scheduled to go into service by the end of FY2021, and construction will start soon on the upcoming straightening of Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal to handle more 15,000-TEU vessels. GPA is also upgrading Berth 2 at Colonel’s Island in Brunswick for dedicated Roll-on/Roll-off service.

Lynch said adding new container yard space, doubling rail capacity to 2 million TEUs per year, and growing the fleet of yard and vessel cranes are all parts of GPA’s plan to increase annual capacity from 6 to 11 million TEUs. “We’re confident in the long-term strength of the U.S. economy and our ability to help port users reach their customers more effectively,” Lynch said. “We’re building now to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities.”

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or corporatecommunications@gaports.com

 

Mobile harbor cranes expand container capabilities

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The first of two mobile harbor cranes is offloaded at the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, June 30, 2020. Two new mobile harbor cranes will allow the Georgia Ports Authority to grow container handling services on the 200-acre facility. The cranes arrived by barge and were offloaded June 30 and July 1. Find print-quality images here. (Stephen B. Morton / Georgia Ports Authority)

 

Niche container terminal to provide new service

 

SAVANNAH, Ga., July 2, 2020 – Two new mobile harbor cranes have been delivered to the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal as the Georgia Ports Authority expands its container-handling and berth capacity. The cranes will offload containers from vessels carrying up to 4,800 twenty-foot equivalent container units.

“We’re developing this into a niche terminal that will provide the highest priority and service to vessels in this class,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Expanded container service at Ocean Terminal could start as early as this year.”

Ships carrying up to 4,800-TEUs were previously served at Garden City Terminal’s Berth 1, which is slated to undergo renovation to straighten a bend. The berth renovation at Savannah’s main container port is necessary to accommodate additional 14,000-TEU ships. Berth 1 construction, when complete in 2023, will allow the GPA to handle four 14,000-TEU vessels simultaneously.

“Even during the downturn, Savannah’s market share has continued to increase,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “Making strategic investments in our future and the future of our customers is what has enabled Savannah to become the third busiest gateway in the nation for container trade.”

With a lift capacity of 125 tons, the mobile harbor cranes can be configured to handle either containers or breakbulk cargo.

Additionally, a portion of the docks at Ocean Terminal is being revamped for container ships, and new storage space will be added on terminal. By the end of Calendar Year 2020, the renovation project will deliver improvements to Berth 18, an expanded container yard for dry and refrigerated boxes, eight new rubber-tired gantry cranes, and a new truck gate with direct access to Interstate 516. The expanded container terminal will have an annual capacity of 225,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units.

“This exciting new development at OT will allow the GPA to continue to meet and exceed the needs of our customers while the improvements are being made to Berth 1 in Garden City,” said GPA Chief Operating Officer Ed McCarthy.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.

 For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or corporatecommunications@gaports.com

Savannah now the top US port for ag exports

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Forest products, poultry major commodities

SAVANNAH, Ga., June 25, 2020 – The Port of Savannah’s proximity to major producers, direct access via road and rail, broad global network and responsiveness to customer needs have recently made it the top port in the nation for the export of containerized agricultural goods.

“Agriculture is a major driver for Georgia’s economy, contributing $74 billion in annual economic benefit and nearly 400,000 jobs across the state,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “As this country’s No. 1 port for the export of agricultural products, Savannah provides vital support for the state and nation, helping our farmers reach overseas buyers efficiently.”

In Calendar Year 2019, agriculture accounted for 60 percent of Savannah’s exports, or more than 843,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units. Forest products such as wood pulp, paper and logs made up the largest category of goods, followed by clay, cotton and poultry.

For the fiscal year to date (July 2019-May 2020), total loaded exports have increased by 15,500 twenty-foot equivalent container units to 1.33 million TEUs.

“The production of raw material and agricultural goods, along with their supply chains, have remained strong throughout the pandemic,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch. “The powerful commitment by the agricultural sector mirrors that of GPA’s employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association and the rest of our maritime logistics community.”

During the pandemic, GPA has focused on ensuring both chassis and empty containers are available to support the movement of export commodities. Through its association with the South Atlantic Chassis Pool II and the completion of a new on-terminal chassis yard, the Port of Savannah provides customers with access to the largest chassis pool in the Southeast. In addition, GPA’s team has focused on cargo owners and other contacts to ensure a reliable supply of containers.

On-terminal projects to expand export capacity have continued throughout the crisis, including the Mason Mega Rail, with the first nine of 18 new working tracks complete and two new rail-mounted gantry cranes slated to begin work in July.

GPA’s inland terminal, the Appalachian Regional Port, has seen increased volumes and export commodities coming from Northwest Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. At the Port of Savannah, GPA has increased its on-time performance of vessel operations to achieve its best performance in three years.

“GPA’s laser focus on the seamless flow of export commodities and the impressive growth at the ARP have created new avenues for American farmers to serve international customers,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight.

On Wednesday, June 24, Lynch addressed a webinar of more than 125 ag exporters, members of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, which advocates on transportation policy as it impacts U.S. farmers. The largest organization of its kind, AgTC members include agriculture exporters and importers, freight forwarders, agriculture trade associations, and the state departments of agriculture.

Peter Friedmann, executive director of AgTC stated, “For our members, the cost-effective movement of goods is a key factor in the profitability of farm and processor operations; working with the leadership of the nation’s international gateways, such as Port of Savannah, serves mutual interests of the port and ag exporters in growing cargo volumes. We look forward to expanding these relationships, and appreciate Mr. Lynch’s most effective  dialogue with our members this week.”

Lynch was joined for the question and answer portion of the webinar by GPA Chief Operating Officer Ed McCarthy and Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron.

“We were pleased to have such a productive discussion with the AgTC members,” Lynch said. “Savannah’s longtime service to commodity exporters and extensive on-terminal infrastructure for refrigerated goods makes GPA a strong partner for the agricultural community.”

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or corporatecommunications@gaports.com

GPA elects officers for FY2021

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Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Georgia Ports Authority remained open for business. At Garden City Terminal, the GPA achieved a better than expected May, moving 337,359 TEUs, a decrease of 9.7 percent or 36,000 TEUs compared to the same month a year ago. (Georgia Ports Authority)

 

Georgia Ports achieve better than expected May

 

SAVANNAH, Ga., June 15, 2020 — At its meeting Monday, the Georgia Ports Authority board elected officers for the coming fiscal year, selecting Will McKnight to serve a second year as chairman.

Also on Monday, GPA Secretary-Treasurer Joel Wooten, Jr. was elected vice chairman and member Kent Fountain was elected secretary-treasurer.

“I look forward to working with Joel and Kent, who have a deep understanding of our economy and the role our ports play in the development of jobs,” McKnight said. “With their guidance, along with the dedication of the GPA  team, I am confident we will exit the current downturn stronger.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp congratulated the GPA officers upon taking on their responsibilities for Fiscal Year 2021.

“As catalysts for growth and recovery, our ports are helping Georgia companies regain their footing,” Kemp said. “Under the steady leadership of Chairman McKnight and the board, the GPA will continue to deliver prosperity to both small and large businesses across Georgia.”

McKnight thanked the GPA team for keeping the operation moving throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and for pushing forward on critical infrastructure projects that will be necessary to add capacity and new services as the economy reopens.

“Our ports and the logistics industry we serve are playing an integral role in moving the goods necessary to get America back to work,” said McKnight. “Our team has done a tremendous job keeping our ports active and working safe and smart throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The dedicated men and women across the ports and supply chain have once again proven that Georgia has the best team on the ground.”

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the GPA remained open for business, implementing strategic safety practices to protect the workers and port users facilitating global commerce. Georgia export commodities from peanuts and forest products to kaolin and poultry have continued to reach their markets on time and in some cases achieving year-over-year increases in trade.

In container traffic, the GPA achieved a better than expected May. In total cargo, the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal moved 337,359 TEUs in May, a decrease of 9.7 percent or 36,000 TEUs compared to the same month a year ago.

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch credited an unshaken commitment to customer service for the better-than-expected performance. “I would like to thank our GPA employees, members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, motor carriers, rail and all our supply chain partners for their dedication,” Lynch said. “Their efforts, along with Savannah’s strong export commodities and record cargo moved by the Appalachian Regional Port are all contributing factors to our performance.”

The Appalachian Regional Port handled 2,856 containers of import and export commodities, an increase of 99 percent or 1,420 container lifts compared to the same month a year ago. Lynch credited the increase with shipping lines recognizing the inland port as an official container yard and routing more cargo through the facility.

Gov. Kemp recently announced that Huali Floors, a leading manufacturer of resilient flooring, will establish its first U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Murray County. Creating 315 new jobs and investing more than $27 million in an existing facility, Huali Floors is the second ARP customer to announce a major development. GE Appliances opened a 500,000 square foot distribution center in March serving a multi-state region via the Northwest Georgia facility.

For the fiscal year to date, GPA’s container trade is slightly behind its FYTD2019 performance, at 4.1 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, a decrease of 18,670 or 0.5 percent. Total cargo for the period from July 2019 through May 2020 reached 34.7 million tons, an increase of nearly 350,000 or 1 percent.

“While our deepwater terminals have seen challenges related to COVID-19, our long-term outlook remains positive as we focus on the fundamentals of serving our customers,” Lynch said. “The resiliency of Georgia’s ports is inherent in the underlying value and efficiency of our terminals and network connections.”

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 439,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $25 billion in income, $106 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2017.

For more information, visit gaports.com, or contact GPA Chief Communications Officer Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855 or corporatecommunications@gaports.com.

 

BOARD OFFICER BIOS


Will McKnight chairman

 

William McKnight was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia.  He graduated from The Academy of Richmond County in 1974 and from The Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979.  Following his graduation from Tech, he continued to work for his family-owned construction company in Augusta and has been the President since 1996. McKnight has overseen the completion of over $1 billion in construction projects.

In addition to McKnight’s extensive career in the construction industry, he has remained active in his community by serving and chairing many boards and committees.   He was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of the First Bank of Georgia in May 2010 and then served on the board of State Bank which sold to Cadence Bank in 2018.  He is the past President and continued member of both the Augusta Country Club and Augusta Golf Association, and he has served on the boards of Associated General Contractors of America, Augusta Ballet, Richmond Academy Booster Club, Tuttle-Newton Home, Episcopal Day School and First Tee.  McKnight is a member of the Exchange Club of Augusta and Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church. He has served on the Georgia Ports Authority since 2014 where he has chaired the Development Committee and Finance Committee and served as the Secretary Treasurer and Vice Chairman before entering this, his second year as Chairman. He is a member of Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island Golf Club, and the Augusta National Golf Club where he has served on the Gallery Committee of the Masters since 2000 and is presently Chairman of the Grounds Committee for the Masters.  He has also been a member of the Planning and Development Committee for AU Foundation as well as the Consolidation Committee for MCG and Augusta State University.

He and his wife, Janet, have raised four daughters.  Dowtin graduated from Auburn University with a nursing degree.  Joining the family business, McKnight Construction Company in Augusta, are Davis; Jane Marie and her husband, who have three sons; and Blakely and her husband who have a son and daughter.


Joel Wooten Jr., Vice Chairman

 

Joel Wooten, Jr. is a founding member of the law firm of Butler Wooten & Peak, LLP.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1972, and earned a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1975. Wooten served as chair of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents from 2004-2005 and was a USG board member from 1999-2006. He has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, and has been repeatedly selected as a Georgia Super Lawyer. He received the State Bar of Georgia’s Tradition of Excellence Award in 2000, the UGA Law School’s Distinguished Service Scroll in 2012, and the Amicus Curiae Award from the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2018. He and his wife, Sybrina, have five children and five grandchildren. They reside in Columbus.

 


 

 

Kent Fountain – Secretary / Treasurer

 

Kent Fountain serves as the President & CEO of Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. in Surrency. Fountain attended the University of Georgia where he obtained a degree in Agricultural Economics. In 1995, Fountain began Southeastern Gin, Inc. and in 2004 built a peanut buying point, and the firm became Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. In 2015, Fountain was instrumental in starting Premium Peanut, LLC, where he currently serves as Chairman. The recipient of numerous awards, Fountain received the Southeastern Ginner of the Year award in 2001 and the Horace Hayden National Ginner of the Year award in 2016. He and his wife, Missi, live in Screven and have two sons attending the University of Georgia.

Savannah harbor deepening sets precedent; four dredges working simultaneously

Post image
Joint News Release - USACE and GPA
For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2020

Contact:
For Corps of Engineers:
Russell A. Wicke
Corporate Communications Officer, 912-652-5777
Russell.A.Wicke@usace.army.mil
After hours: 912-856-4229

For Georgia Ports Authority:
Robert Morris, Chief Communications Officer, 912-964-3855
corporatecommunications@gaports.com

SAVANNAH, Ga., May 31, 2020– The deepening of the Savannah harbor has set a new precedent with four dredges working simultaneously, the Army Corps of Engineers announced.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) includes two dredges keeping the channel at its current authorized depth of 42 feet followed by two dredges taking the channel to its new depth of 47 feet. The dredges work without disrupting the flow of commercial traffic to or from the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal and other facilities along the river.

The entire deepening project is approximately 62 percent complete. The inner harbor constitutes the final portion. The outer harbor, a roughly 20-mile channel extending into the Atlantic Ocean, has already been deepened to 49 feet at low tide.

“The Savannah District continues to manage the intensely complicated task of coordinating dredge actions and placement of dredged material to ensure safety, compliance with contract requirements and timeliness to reach our goal of completing this major deepening in January 2022,” Col. Daniel H. Hibner, commander of the Corps’ Savannah District said. “This effort ensures the harbor will improve the ability of Savannah to meet the demands of today and tomorrow.”

With finely tuned coordination, each dredge and its associated support vessels must be at the right place at the right time. The two smaller maintenance dredges remove built up shoaling and sediment, then move on followed by the larger deepening dredges. All vessels must move aside whenever commercial vessels enter their area. In addition, workers must move pipelines leading from the dredges to the dredge material disposal areas. After commercial traffic passes, everything must return to continue the routine. All dredges work 24 hours a day, every day.

“The cooperation we receive from GPA, our dredging contractors, the harbor pilots, the Coast Guard and others demonstrates the dedication this community has for deepening the Savannah harbor,” Hibner said.

The federal government and the state of Georgia share the cost of the deepening. Georgia’s Department of Transportation and the Georgia Ports Authority serve as the state sponsors for the project.

“Georgia’s ports are among our greatest economic development assets and play a critical role in creating jobs and investment opportunities across the state,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “Through the Port of Savannah, we feed the world with Georgia Grown products, and support manufacturing and retail activity across the country. The improvements we are making today through the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project will help ensure Georgia’s economic vitality for decades to come.”

 

The dredge Chatry works to deepen the Savannah River. Inner harbor deepening at the Port of Savannah is slated for completion in late 2021. The inner harbor deepening is the final portion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. (Georgia Ports Authority)

 

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said the progress surging ahead on SHEP is good news for port users.

“With the challenges our economy is facing, the savings a deeper harbor will mean for our customers can’t come soon enough,” Lynch said. “We’re excited to see so much work getting done as the Corps of Engineers coordinates these efforts.”

The project will allow today’s larger container vessels to enter and leave the harbor during a longer tide window and with more cargo aboard. According to a Corps of Engineers feasibility study, lower container slot costs on the larger vessels accommodated by the deeper harbor will save U.S. producers and retailers $282 million per year in transportation expenses. The study found that every dollar spent on construction will yield $7.30 in benefits.

Because the project will have such a large positive effect on the nation’s economy, SHEP has received significant federal support. In the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2020, $130.3 million is devoted to SHEP, while another $28.6 million in maintenance and operations funding is going toward Savannah River maintenance dredging.

“I would like to thank Sen. David Perdue, Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Congressman Buddy Carter for their work to ensure sufficient funding to improve this vital federal waterway,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “I would also like to thank the many staff members across the Corps of Engineers, and particularly at the Savannah District. Their efforts are recognized and appreciated by Savannah’s entire maritime community.”