SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The recent backlog of ships trying to unload goods at the Port of Savannah is the result of a multitude of issues that involve the supply chain according Griff Lynch who is the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. In the meantime, Lynch says they’re working 24-7 to unload as many containers as possible.
“The activity you see happening in the middle of the day is also happening in the middle of the night every day of the week,” Lyn said.
On Friday, Lynch told reporters that crews were working to unload seven container vessels and that 25 ships were still anchored in the ocean waiting their turn.
He said there are bumps in the road but not all have been caused by the port.
“I want to make sure we make that clear, the entire supply chain is challenged and we’re just one piece of it,” said Lynch. “So if there’s not enough warehousing and the cargo backs up it’s going to impact the port and the number of vessels we have at anchor.”
Lynch say they’re working to get more port storage space and also to have more containers moved by rail instead of having to be trucked from the port.
Lynch says there has been a large backlog of thousands of containers but in the past two weeks that backlog has been reduced by up to 70%. He thanked truckers for that effort.
He said there have been 14,000 truck “moves” per day in the past few weeks. (That is a truck going into the port and coming out with one or two containers.)
Lynch also said in every crisis there can be opportunity. “Our business for July through September is up 16 percent,” he said. “And our business for January through September is up more than 25 percent.”
Lynch also said last month was the “best September the port has had.”
In nine months, the port has added 850,000 additional TEUs of business. (A TEU is the way they measure a container unit.)
Griff says for every ten additional containers, one job in Georgia can be created.
About $700 million worth of projects are currently planned at the port include a new berth plus more storage capacity at the port and new rail lines.
Lynch said that there are a lot of challenges right now with the bottleneck of ships but that employees at the port are working really hard to improve conditions over the next couple of months.
Lynch says he thinks goods will be on the store shelves by the holidays and retailers seem confident of that as well. He does caution there may be a few problems.
“Sometimes if you look at what you think might be happening you would think nothing is going to be on the shelves. I would say what we’re struggling for here is to get 90 percent on the shelves. So, I think that There are some things that might not make it but the sky is not falling,” said Lynch.