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Container volume still booming at Georgia Ports

POSTED: March 21, 2011 6:48 p.m.

BRUNSWICK–The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced today that it experienced 16.3 percent container volume growth in February 2011 with additional impressive gains in automobiles, machinery and wood pulp.

“Our ports are critical to Georgia’s continued economic recovery,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “Additional cargo creates jobs in many sectors including farming, manufacturing, transportation and logistics. Propelling the flow of cargo will spur a thriving business climate and new opportunities for Georgia and the entire Southeast.”

Curtis Foltz, GPA’s executive director, reported to the Board of Directors on Monday a total of 235,665 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) crossed Georgia’s docks in February alone. Fiscal-year-to-date volume is up 13.6 percent for TEUs compared with the same time period the previous fiscal year.

“Heavy volumes have been driven by ongoing market recovery and continued inventory replenishment,” said Foltz. “Exports continue to outpace imports since the depth of the recession in 2009.”

“The continued growth experienced at the Port of Savannah further highlights the need for the successful completion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project,” said GPA Chairman of the Board Alec L. Poitevint. “The world’s shipping lines and beneficial cargo owners have made the Port of Savannah the gateway to the Southeast because of our efficient operations, outstanding rail connectivity and ability to access 44 percent of the U.S. population.”

Break-bulk tonnage continued to reflect a strong global industrial recovery reporting a 51.6 percent February increase handling 177,073 tons for the month. Fiscal-year-to-date break-bulk tonnage increased 50.3 percent compared with the previous fiscal year.

The growth was driven by significant increases in export traffic through the GPA’s Ocean Terminal facility in wood pulp, machinery and automobiles.

Autos and machinery units posted the second best month ever for Savannah and Brunswick. The majority of the GPA’s auto activity was at Colonel’s Island Terminal, which reported a 78.9-percent increase and moved 40,734 units. The high automobile volumes are reflective of market share gains by the primary brands the GPA handles, specifically Hyundai, Mercedes, BMW, Kia and Volkswagen.                 

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