Surge in auto units help GPA set monthly records

  • October tonnage up 22% to 2.54 million tonnes

  • Gov. Deal to approach General Assembly for further SHEP funding

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) moved a record 2.54 million tonnes of cargo during the month of October, up 22 percent over the same month a year ago.

Brunswick’s Colonel Island Terminal and Savannah’s Ocean Terminal combined to handle 62,343 autos and heavy machinery, a record for October and a year-on-year rise of 10,045 or 19.2 percent. For the fiscal year-to-date total tonnage at GPA’s portfolio of terminals now stands at 9.6 million, a 9.2 percent increase over the same period in FY2013.

The GPA also reported a significant rise in container traffic, which jumped 19 percent to 274,362 TEU. Meanwhile, for the fiscal year thus far container volumes have increased 5.3 percent over the previous year with 1.06 million TEU handled.

In a statement, the GPA has also praised the efforts of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who announced his intentions last week at the Atlanta State of the Port event that he plans to approach the General Assembly for a further US$35 million to help fund the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The SHEP, expected to cost in the region of $652 million, will see Savannah’s harbour deepened from 42 to 47 feet to allow the safe navigation of super-sized container vessels transiting the Panama Canal after its 2015 expansion. If Gov. Deal’s request proves successful then the amount allocated by the state would rise to $266 million, the total amount required by the state to help realise the project.

“The harbor deepening and the GPA have enjoyed the steadfast support of our state leaders and our delegation to Washington from the start of this project in 1999,” said GPA board chairman, Robert Jepson.

“The commitment and foresight of Gov. Deal and others have brought us to where we stand today – ready to begin construction.”

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