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Another banner year for the ports

POSTED: July 29, 2013 8:01 p.m.

SAVANNAH — The Georgia Ports Authority marked record volumes for fiscal year 2013 in total tonnage, bulk cargo, total auto-machinery units and freight moved by intermodal rail.


“Our deepwater ports provide vital support to our agricultural, forestry and manufacturing sectors,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “Because American-made goods are able to reach the global market efficiently through Georgia’s ports, these products are more competitive in international trade. That’s good for jobs in Georgia and across the Southeast.”


GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz said record levels achieved across important business sectors in fiscal year 2013 are a testament to the superior service enjoyed by the customers of the GPA.


“Whether by road, on-terminal rail links or by our 38 weekly global containership services, Georgia’s deepwater ports offer an unmatched gateway to international commerce for Southeast markets,” Foltz said.


In the year ending June 30, the GPA moved a record-setting 27.23 million tons of cargo across all terminals, for a 2.4 percent increase over FY2012. “Our overall tonnage increase has been fueled by the strength of U.S. exports and the GPA’s varied cargo spectrum,” Foltz said.


For the second year in a row, the GPA achieved a record total for auto and machinery units with an 11.7 percent improvement in FY2013, moving 636,942 units — an increase of 66,958. Volume improvements in FY2013 are thanks in part to business from new customers including Subaru and Toyota. Other factors include heavy-machinery exports from companies like Caterpillar, contributing to a 127,830-ton increase in breakbulk tonnage at the Colonel’s Island terminal.


The Port of Brunswick is the third-busiest port in the U.S. for total roll-on/roll-off cargo, and the second busiest port for the import of such cargo.


Bulk cargo was up by 61.8 percent, or 964,392 tons, to reach 2.5 million tons. At East River in Brunswick, biofuels including wood pellets helped drive the terminal to a 151,896-ton bulk cargo improvement over FY2012 to reach 663,441 tons of bulk cargo moved through East River Terminal alone.


Measured in 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), the GPA’s throughput for FY2013 remained steady, for the second-busiest year in GPA history, at 2.94 million TEUs. In fact, the last three months of the year were among the top 10 in GPA history.


Of the total container volume, a record number, 314,623 containers, were moved by rail. This constitutes a 4,600-container increase over FY2012, itself a record year.


“Significant momentum moving into FY2014, combined with exciting developments in GPA’s customer base and in the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project contribute to a powerful business outlook for Georgia’s ports,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson.

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