Georgia Ports Authority Envisions 8 Million TEU Capacity For Port Of Savannah By 2028
At the Savannah State of the Port event September 20, Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Griff Lynch thanked Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) for his leadership and detailed GPA’s 10-year, $2.5 billion plan to expand the capacity of the nation’s fastest growing and single largest container terminal from 5.5 million twenty-foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs) to 8 million.
“We’re preparing to redefine the Port of Savannah as not simply the load center for the Southeastern U.S., but as the port of choice for major inland markets east of the Mississippi River,” Lynch said.
During his presentation to nearly 1,400 people, including Deal, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, Congressman Buddy Carter, other elected officials and business leaders from across the state and nation, Lynch detailed projects that include the Mason Mega Rail facility, which will double the Port of Savannah’s rail capacity to 1 million lifts per year by 2020; new equipment purchases including eight additional ship-to-shore cranes and 64 additional rubber-tired gantry cranes; gate and container storage expansions, berth improvements and off terminal road additions.
“Almost eight years ago, Gov. Deal established a goal to make Georgia the best state in the nation to do business by providing state government, business leaders and our ports what they needed to make that happen,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. He noted that since Deal took office in 2011, the Port of Savannah has grown by 45 percent or an additional 1.2 million TEUs; the harbor deepening project has been approved and is now 50 percent complete; and state transportation improvements like the Jimmy Deloach Parkway ensure that cargo moves more efficiently and without delay.
In just the past year, GPA handled a record 4.2 million TEUs, for an impressive 8.4 percent increase, or 325,000 additional units. Intermodal rail lifts surged to 435,000, an increase of 16. percent, or more than 60,000 additional moves, another GPA record.
Bigger Ships, Deeper Harbor
Work on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) is expected to be finished in late 2021. “Thanks to Gov. Deal’s leadership, U.S. Sen. Isakson and Perdue, Congressman Buddy Carter and the entire Georgia delegation, the construction project is fully funded this year,” said Lynch.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study estimates the deepening’s net benefit in transportation savings for shippers and consumers at $282 million per year. The expected total savings to the nation over the course of 50 years is $14.1 billion. For every dollar spent on construction, the project will return 7.3 dollars to the nation’s economy through savings on cargo transportation – one of the largest returns on investment on a navigation project for taxpayers in the country.
As deeper water allows larger vessels to call on the Port of Savannah, the GPA, along with its state partners, will be examining future infrastructure requirements, including air draft capacity of the Talmadge Bridge. Although no such vessels currently call on the U.S. East Coast, the port could handle some vessels up to 19,000 TEU capacity.