US port to double capacity

Georgia Ports Authority Garden City Terminal. Image: Georgia Ports Authority
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Major expansion plans at a southern US port will see its capacity double and boost big ship capacity.

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) plans to bring the Port of Savannah’s annual capacity to 11m teus, up from the current capacity of 5.5m teus per year. It will do this by expanding beyond the 1,200-acre Garden City Terminal to establish a new container port on Hutchinson Island, across the Savannah River channel. The 200-acre Georgia site sits directly across from Ocean Terminal in Savannah. It will have an annual capacity of 2.5m teus.

“The market has clearly chosen the Port of Savannah as the Southeastern hub for containerized trade,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “To fulfill the growing responsibility placed on our deepwater terminals, we have developed a plan to double our capacity.”

In 2020, Garden City Terminal will receive six additional ship-to-shore cranes, bringing its fleet to 36, more than any other terminal in North America. Speaking at the Savannah State of the Port, GPA executive director Griff Lynch said GPA plans continual upgrades to its crane fleet, which will include 12 new cranes with a lift height of 170 feet by 2027.

Within three years, the GPA plans a berth realignment to allow docking for more 14,000-teu vessels on the downriver end of Garden City Terminal. By 2027, the additional cranes, revamped dock space and a new Hutchinson Island terminal will allow the Port of Savannah to significantly increase big ship capacity.

Additionally, the US Army Corps of Engineers is now in the final phase of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The Corps is expected to issue contracts this year to dredge the inner harbour, which makes up the final half of the deepening.

To accommodate increasing rail demand, GPA is in the middle of a US$220m expansion of its on-terminal rail infrastructure at the Port of Savannah.

Construction on Phase I of GPA’s Mason Mega Rail Terminal will be complete in the spring, with a grand opening slated for March 2020. When Phase II opens in late 2020, the project will double the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to 1m containers per year.

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