The Georgia Ports Authority has approved projects to increase annual capacity at the Port of Savannah beyond 6 millionTEU. Source: Georgia Ports Authority / Jeremy Polston

The Georgia Ports Authority board has approved capital improvement projects on 29 March, aiming to significantly increase the Port of Savannah’s container capacity.

First of all, the GPA board has given the green light for a terminal enhancement project, called the Peak Capacity project, which will establish 2,100 new grounded container slots, adding 650,000TEU of annual container yard capacity, which translates to 20% of the port’s box capacity.

The Peak Capacity project will be developed in two phases, with the first phase commencing in September.

Georgia Ports has seen an unexpected increase in its container volumes, according to GPA executive director, Griff Lynch, who said, “we are expediting capacity projects that will increase the speed and fluidity of cargo handling at the Port of Savannah,”

GPA board chairman, Will McKnight agrees, noting that “Georgia’s container trade has experienced unprecedented growth over the past six months,” he added, “this addition will address the needs of port users experiencing a sharp increase in demand, while also preparing Savannah to take on additional business over the long term.”

The growth in the Port of Savannah’s container traffic is supported by its record February in terms of TEU volumes. The US port has reported a box throughput of 390,800TEU, which represents a 7.2% increase compared to February 2020. “In terms of cargo volumes, we’ve added the equivalent of an extra month of trade since September,” pointed out Lynch, who went on to add, “With consumers spending less on travel and services, they’re devoting more of their income to goods purchases, which has resulted in increased container volumes.”

In addition to the Peak Capacity project, GPA has announced the approval of the Berth 1 renovation that is expected to increase berth capacity by an estimated 1 million TEU per year by June 2023, and will bring Garden City Terminal’s new total to 6 Million TEU of annual berth capacity.

Furthermore, on 29 March GPA board has confirmed the purchase of 20 new rubber-tyred gantry cranes, which will have the necessary height in order to stand over six containers, one higher than Savannah’s older RTGs, allowing for additional capacity in the same terminal footprint.

Meanwhile, on 22 February, an expanded container operation came online at Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, bringing annual capacity there to 250,000TEU. “The new capacity at OT will ensure our shipping line customers see no service delays while GPA is straightening Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal,” said McKnight said.

Another project aimed at boosting the container handling capabilities of the Port of Savannah is the purchase of eight new ship-to-shore cranes, which was approved in November. The new machines will replace six older models, bringing Savannah’s fleet to 38. The eight taller cranes will arrive in 2023, allowing Garden City Terminal to serve more container ships with a nominal capacity of 15,000+ TEU.

Moreover, Savannah’s harbour deepening, a Corps of Engineers project, will reach substantial completion by the end of the current year and will provide greater scheduling flexibility for vessel transit, according to the port authority.

Source: container-news