Port of Brunswick set to be top auto and RoRo port in US

Port of Brunswick set to be top auto and Ro-Ro port in US

The Port of Brunswick is poised to become the top auto and machinery port in the US, with 264 acres of land for development, according to Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) President and CEO Griff Lynch.

Addressing the State of the Port annual event, hosted by the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, Lynch said: “Organic growth, a steady pipeline of new customers and the ability to take on new trade will boost Brunswick’s Ro-Ro volumes, which are already expanding at a strong rate.

“To accommodate anticipated market demand, GPA has initiated an aggressive infrastructure plan, strengthening Colonel’s Island for auto and machinery processing,” Lynch added.

In FY 2023, Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick grew RoRo volumes by 18 per cent, to more than 705,000 units of autos and heavy machinery, moving both into and out of the port.

The Port of Brunswick served 610 vessel calls in FY 2023, representing an increase of 11 per cent over the year prior. Colonel’s Island handled 495 of those ships.

GPA Board Chairman, Kent Fountain, said Brunswick has room to grow as automakers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) move greater volumes through Georgia.

“At 1,700 acres, Brunswick is the nation’s premier gateway for auto and RoRo cargo,” Fountain said.

“Brunswick’s gateway port model features four on-site auto processors, room for customers to grow their business with three available parcels of land totalling 264 acres and direct access to Interstate 95 for car carrier and machinery trucks.

“With on-terminal rail, Brunswick offers the fastest East Coast rail connections to inland markets.” 

The port also features a new fumigation facility onsite which is the largest facility of its size for autos and machinery.

READ: Georgia Ports brings Nissan to Brunswick

To accommodate growing volumes, the Port of Brunswick is undergoing improvements totalling more than $262 million.

Construction has recently been completed on 350,000 square feet of near-dock warehousing that serves auto and machinery processing on the north side of Colonel’s Island Terminal.

Three additional buildings representing 290,000 square feet and 122 acres of RoRo cargo storage space are under construction on the south side of the island.

GPA has also won Federal approval for a fourth RoRo berth at Colonel’s Island, to enable more vessel calls.

Currently in the engineering phase, this project will more efficiently accommodate vessels that can carry up to 7,000 vehicles.

A planned new railyard on the Southside of Colonel’s Island will enter the construction phase next year. This rail capacity improvement will extend Brunswick’s reach deeper into interior markets to capture more business.

Federally funded maintenance dredging is ongoing in the Brunswick River shipping channel. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is awaiting funding for a project to enhance the efficiency of vessel transit by widening the channel and expansion of the turning basin at Colonel’s Island.

Late last year, the GPA Board approved renovation and realignment of the docks at the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal in a bid to expand container operation.

More recently, the GPA received federal environmental approval to develop an inland terminal near Gainesville.

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