Ports hit new record
by W. Winston Skinner
The Georgia Ports Authority moved more than 3 million 20-foot equivalent container units in fiscal year 2014 – and set a new record for roll-on/roll-off cargo.
The ports at Savannah and Brunswick have a major economic impact on Coweta County. Local companies used materials imported through the ports in manufacturing and Coweta industries also ship finished products around the world through the ports.
Exports accounted for just over half of containerized tonnage in FY 2014, according to Robert Morris, GPA’s senior director of corporate communications.
Candace Boothby, president of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, talked about the impact of the ports earlier this year. "Coweta has major international businesses that utilize the Savannah port to import and export tens of millions of dollars of products. This creates new jobs and stabilizes current employment in Coweta," she said.
“Coweta County companies – both large and small – have benefited from convenient access to Georgia's ports,” Greg Wright, president of the Coweta County Development Authority, said in an interview late last year.
“The board and staff of the Georgia Ports Authority are to be commended for their outstanding achievements this year,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “Our ports’ success is a win for us all, and a direct result of Georgia’s commitment to the GPA and support for critical port infrastructure projects such as the harbor deepening and enhanced access to I-95 and I-16.”
Deal said the state’s deepwater terminals “support jobs, investment and economic development in every county across the state.”
The Port of Savannah handled a record 3.14 million TEUs in FY14, up by 6.3 percent or 186,567 TEUs compared to the previous year. It was the first time for the port to move more than 3 million TEUs in a fiscal year.
The added volume contributed to a record year in total tonnage. In the 12 months ending June 30, GPA moved 29.4 million tons of freight, up by 8 percent or 2.17 million tons.
“Our ports support a broad range of industries, ranging from forestry and food production to auto manufacturing and retail,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director of GPA. “The additional cargo attracted to Georgia in FY14 speaks to the powerful and growing impact Georgia’s ports have on the state and region.”
In roll-on/roll-off cargo, the Port of Brunswick’s dedicated auto and machinery terminal moved 674,327 units in FY14. Savannah’s Ocean Terminal added another 26,375 for a record total of 700,702 units.
GPA ro/ro cargo improved by 63,760 units or 10 percent on the year. Breakbulk cargo – items that must be loaded individually – saw a gain of 5.2 percent in FY14, growing by 129,861 tons to reach 2.63 million tons. Meanwhile, bulk cargo expanded by 8.4 percent, or 212,086 tons, to reach 2.73 million tons of agricultural and other bulk goods moved across GPA docks.
“There are good reasons more than 21,000 businesses depend on Georgia’s deepwater ports to move their goods reliably and on-time,” said James Walters, board chairman for GPA. He spoke of the ports’ “central location and superior connectivity beyond our ports” as factors that make Brunswick-Savannah “the Southeast’s hub for global trade.”
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 handled 8 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.9 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2013.