SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There may still be a pandemic raging across the country, and while it did affect business at Georgia’s ports this spring, it is back to smooth sailing in a number of ways.
“We had a few tough months but this first quarter of the year has been incredible. We’re actually breaking records in a pandemic,” said Griff Lynch who is the executive director of Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).
Lynch appeared with GPA Board Chair Will McKnight in a virtual State of the Ports address Thursday.
“We appreciate the decisions of cargo owners to place their trust in Georgia. As our economy recovers, customers continue to be attracted by Savannah’s strong fundamentals – including the people who make our ports work,” Lynch said. “I want to thank our GPA employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association and our many partners across the logistics industry for their dedication to service.”
In a virtual address, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the ports have proven their worth to the nation since the pandemic began.
Watch the full State of the Ports address:
“Over the past year, our nation has faced unprecedented challenges that have impacted our daily lives and our economy,” said Kemp. “We’ve had to rethink how we handle the logistics of healthcare, retail, manufacturing and the globe trade that supports these endeavors and through it all, our ports have remain stead in keep cargo moving and attracing investment and building market share.”
Officials say in the first half of 2020, the Port of Savannah became the nation’s busiest container port for U.S. exports.
Kemp said that is thanks to the producers and manufacturers who choose to locate in Georgia, and so despite these unprecedented times, the “economy remains strong and with great partners like the Georgia Ports Authority on our side, our best days are ahead.”
More from the GPA regarding ongoing infrastructure improvements include:
- Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Deepening the harbor to 47 feet at low tide is now 75 percent finished, with completion expected in late 2021.
- Mason Mega Rail Terminal will double the Port of Savannah’s annual rail capacity to 2 million TEUs.
- Nine new working tracks have been commissioned, with another nine slated for completion in 2021.
- Expanding container handling capabilities at Ocean Terminal to serve smaller ships while berth renovations are ongoing at Garden City. This project will be completed by the end of 2020.
- Straightening Berth 1 to allow Garden City Terminal to dock four 15,000+ TEU vessels and three additional vessels simultaneously. The project will take approximately two years.
- Expanding container storage onto 145 acres recently added to the now 1,345-acre Garden City Terminal.