Ports draw $5B investment, 12K jobs to Georgia
Port-related announcements of expansions and new business accounted for nearly $5 billion in investment and 12,000 jobs across the state of Georgia in Fiscal Year 2019, a year in which the Port of Savannah moved a record 4.5 million twenty-foot equivalent container units.
In the fiscal year that ended in June, the Georgia Ports Authority achieved record volumes in containers, total tonnage and cargo moved by rail. At 4.5 million TEUs, the Port of Savannah grew its containerized trade by 7.3 percent, or 305,000 TEUs. Total tonnage reached 37.5 million, up 1.5 million tons or 4.2 percent. The port handled 507,000 intermodal boxes, up 73,000, or 17 percent compared to the previous year.
Speaking to an audience of nearly 1,400 at the Savannah State of the Port, Lynch announced expansions that will bring the Port of Savannah’s annual capacity to 11 million TEUs, up from the current capacity of 5.5 million TEUs per year. The Authority plans to expand beyond its 1,200-acre footprint at Garden City Terminal to establish a new container port on Hutchinson Island, across the Savannah River channel. The 200-acre Georgia site sits directly across from Ocean Terminal in Savannah. It will have an annual capacity of 2.5 million TEUs.
Lynch said the influx of cargo crossing Savannah’s docks is also driving an extraordinary level of development from private investors. In FY2019, developers added 10.75 million square feet of industrial space in the Savannah market for a total of 67.7 million square feet, an increase of 19 percent.
Upcoming terminal enhancements include:
In 2020, Garden City Terminal will receive six additional ship-to-shore cranes, bringing its fleet to 36, more than any other terminal in North America. Lynch said GPA plans continual upgrades to its crane fleet, which will include 12 new cranes with a lift height of 170 feet by 2027.
Within three years, the GPA plans a berth realignment to allow docking for more 14,000-TEU vessels on the downriver end of Garden City Terminal. By 2027, the additional cranes, revamped dock space and a new Hutchinson Island terminal will allow the Port of Savannah to significantly increase big ship capacity.
Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now in the final phase of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The Corps is expected to issue contracts this year to dredge the inner harbor, which makes up the final half of the deepening.
Construction on Phase I of GPA’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal will be complete in the spring, with a grand opening slated for March 2020. When Phase II opens in late 2020, the project will double the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year.
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.