Savannah Sees Record Growth in Containerized Trade

Garden City Terminal

In February, 307,035 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) were moved through Garden City Terminal at the Port of Savannah, according to Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Curtis Foltz. Compared to the same month in 2015, this figure notes an eight percent volume growth in containerized trade. The Executive Director said in a March 21 press release that this record amount of growth exceeded expectations “in light of last year’s unprecedented cargo diversions from the West Coast.”

Foltz went on to note several reasons for this growth, including “efficient access to market, proximity to major Southeast populations and GPA’s ability to quickly expand on-terminal container capacity.”

The numbers alone are remarkable. This 8.1 percent increase at Garden City Terminal means 22,998 additional TEUs compared to February of last year. Compared to 2014, the growth in containerized cargo is 23 percent. Total freight numbers saw improvement by 3.9 percent, or 100,495 tons more freight than in the same month the previous year. This brings total freight to 2.67 million tons across all cargo sectors in the terminal, the seventh highest monthly performance ever recorded. Containerized trade, in particular, accounted for 2.18 million tons of that total, up by 8.7 percent.

The Port of Savannah now ranks third as the busiest port for exporting containerized goods in the nation, behind Houston and Los Angeles. “One out of every 10 tons of containerized U.S. exports went through Georgia’s ports,” GPA Board Chairman James Walter said of 2015.

This increase does more than bring in additional money to the port. Beyond being international cargo hubs, Walter notes that the deepwater ports in Savannah and Brunswick are also “excellent job generators for manufacturers throughout Georgia and the Southeast.” He added, “Our ports support more than 369,000 jobs in Georgia, and more throughout this great country.” Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals contribute significantly to Georgia’s economy. They add $20.4 billion in income, $84.1 billion in revenue, and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes.

GPA reports that the Port of Savannah has moved 2.41 million TEUs in the fiscal year to date through February. This means a 3.6 percent increase compared to FY2015, up by 84,629 TEUs. It is a 17.7 percent increase compared to the same period of time in FY2014. Of the entire U.S. containerized cargo volume, the Port of Savannah handled eight percent in CY2014, as well as 11 percent of U.S. containerized exports.