Special to the Journal
Savannah, Ga. – The Georgia Ports Authority ended calendar year 2012 with a strong December, marking an 11.7 percent increase in total tonnage across all terminals, and a 21.8 percent increase in auto and machinery units compared to December 2011.
“Our total volume of 2.27 million tons puts December among the top 10 months on record and the highest performing December ever,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “This figure, boosted in part by outstanding growth in sectors such as bulk and Roll-on/Roll-off cargo, is the result of GPA’s exceptional cargo diversity and overall performance.”
The total tonnage figure was up more than 238,000 tons, or 11.7 percent, compared to the final month of 2011.
December 2012 container tonnage increased by 4.2 percent (72,083) to reach 1.76 million tons. TEU throughput for the month hit 219,128 units, an improvement of 2.2 percent, or 4,656 units, over the previous year.
Colonel’s Island in Brunswick and Savannah’s Ocean Terminal moved a combined 54,884 auto and machinery units, an increase of 18.2 percent, making December the fifth busiest month on record for Roll-on/Roll-off cargo.
“Our December figures show an important uptick in total tonnage across all facilities and impressive auto volumes,” said Board Chairman Robert Jepson. “GPA’s sustained growth and strong performance require continued investment in infrastructure improvements.”
At its meeting Monday, the GPA board heard an update on a project to upgrade eight ship-to-shore cranes to increase hoist speed and productivity. The $2.4 million contract was awarded in December, with work set to begin by the end of January.
Previously, the GPA purchased four new Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes. The cranes are due to arrive in September, bringing the total number of GPA cranes to 27 – the most of any terminal on the East Coast. The added cranes will allow the GPA to more efficiently serve larger vessels calling on the port. Similarly, Garden City Terminal has the most rubber-tired gantry cranes at 110, with six more currently being assembled on terminal.
Also Monday, Foltz reviewed 2013 fiscal year-to-date numbers. Total tonnage across all terminals improved by 4.1 percent, hitting 13.3 million tons for the first half of the fiscal year. Total Ro/Ro units rose 21.8 percent over the same period in FY2012, reaching 320,998 units. Breakbulk tonnage was up 10.9 percent at 1.3 million, while bulk tonnage increased by 62 percent (463,755 tons) to reach 1.2 million tons. TEUs were down 1.1 percent for the fiscal year to date, at 1.45 million.
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah was the second busiest U.S. container port for the export of American goods by tonnage in FY2011. It also handled 8.7 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 12.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2011.