Surge in agribulk, Ro/Ro volumes lead to banner year in Brunswick

  • Georgia port reports 47 percent increase in tonnage for FY2013

A surge in agribulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo at the Port of Brunswick led to an impressive 47 percent rise in tonnage for fiscal year 2013.

For the second year in a row, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) achieved a record total for auto and machinery units with an 11.7 percent improvement in FY2013, moving 636,942 units – an increase of 66,958. Most of that business, or 622,702 units, moved over Colonel’s Island terminal in Brunswick.

“Brunswick has seen phenomenal growth this year as the automobile industry rebounds and sales increase,” said GPA’s executive director, Curtis Foltz.

“As a result, the Port of Brunswick is the third busiest port in the US for total roll-on/roll-off cargo, and the second busiest port for the import of such cargo.”

The GPA attributed the volume increase to the business of new customers including Subaru and Toyota. Other factors include heavy machinery exports from companies like Caterpillar, contributing to a 127,830-tonne increase in breakbulk tonnage at Colonel’s Island.

At East River in Brunswick, biofuels including wood pellets helped drive the terminal to a 23 percent, or 151,896-tonne, bulk cargo improvement over FY2012 to reach 815,337 tonnes of bulk cargo moved through East River Terminal alone. Colonel’s Island also saw a banner year in agribulk cargo, moving 148,712 tonnes of corn and 792,453 tones of soybean meal, for a total of 941,165 tonnes – nearly five times more than in FY2012, in which GPA moved 195,306 tonnes of agribulk products.

The GPA moved a combined 1.75 million tons of bulk cargo through Brunswick in FY2013, more than double the 858,747 tons in the previous fiscal year.

“The break in the drought resulted in greater farm yields,” Foltz said. “Additionally, increased overseas marketing for US-produced agribulk boosted GPA volumes.”

Counting freight moved through Savannah and Brunswick, the GPA marked record volumes for fiscal year 2013 in total tonnage, bulk cargo, total auto-machinery units, and freight moved by intermodal rail.

In the year ending June 30th, the GPA moved a record-setting 27.23 million tonnes of cargo across all terminals, for a 2.4 percent increase over FY2012.

“Our overall tonnage increase has been fuelled by the strength of US exports and the GPA’s varied cargo spectrum,” added Foltz.

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