The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and the Suez Canal Authority signed an historic agreement today to jointly promote the all-water shipping route between Asia/Indian Subcontinent and the North American East Coast and the Port of Savannah via the Suez Canal.

‘The Suez Canal has become a crucial canal for world trade and, in recent years, has experienced rapid growth,’ said GPA’s Chairman of its Board of Directors Steve Green. ‘In all of our key Suez trade lanes, whether Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Middle East, our growth is outpacing most other East Coast ports.’

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement provides both parties the opportunity to promote a strong working relationship and exchange information and expertise in the areas of marketing, operations and information technology. The agreement also calls for concerted efforts to expand international trade by supporting the market presence in their respective countries and with common customers.

‘This strategic alliance will allow GPA and the Suez Canal Authority to improve services for our customers and generate new economic opportunities for Georgia and the Southeastern United States,’ said GPA’s Executive Director Doug J. Marchand.

In 2007, 67% of GPA’s total increase in trade, or an additional 296,989 teus (20-foot equivalent units), was via the Suez Canal. ‘In the last 18 months, we have doubled the number of our Suez services, even in the midst of a US economic downturn,’ said Marchand. ‘Our Suez trade will only continue to accelerate in the years ahead and this partnership will lay the ground work for even stronger growth.’

According to Green, staying ahead of the growth curve is a top priority for GPA. “As the fastest growing port in the nation, the Port of Savannah’s 444,130 teu total throughput increase during 2007 accounted for almost 30% of the nation’s growth,’ said Green. ‘It is critical to the continued success of Georgia’s ports and the businesses that rely upon us that the Savannah Harbor is deepened up to 48 feet. The successful completion of this deepening is the GPA’s number-one infrastructure priority.”

GPA has strategic partnerships with other ports, such as the Shanghai International Port Group, Sydney Ports Corporation, Panama Canal Authority and Port of Shimizu in Japan.

Savannah’s Suez services contributed to 67% (+296,989 20-foot equivalent units [teus]) of Savannah’s total growth variance for overall throughput including loaded and empty containers (+444,130 teus) in CY 2007. Overall Suez volumes represented 426,969 teus or 16% of Savannah’s overall throughput (2.6 million teus).

The top five exports via the Suez Canal from Savannah were paper products (22,776 teus), wood pulp (19,206 teus), food-mostly poultry (15,046 teus), cotton (13,008 teus), and machinery/appliances/elect. (12,559 teus).

The top five imports via the Suez Canal to Savannah were furniture (18,612 teus), retail goods (18,859 teus), apparel (17,620 teus), machinery/ appliances/elect. (7,968 teus), and food-mostly fish and coffee (5,884 teus).

Suez Services Calling the Port of Savannah Services

MIX - Mediterranean India Express
(UASC & Hanjin)
AEX - Asia East Coast Express
(Grand Alliance- Hapag-Lloyd, NYK, & OOCL)
SINA - Singapore India North America Service
(K Line, Yang Ming, Hanjin, & UASC)
MECL2 - Middle East Colombo 2 Service
(Maersk Line & Safmarine)
SZX - Suez Express
(New World Alliance- APL, MOL, & Hyundai, CMA CGM, & Evergreen)
NSCSA - North America Ro-Ro/Breakbulk/Container Service

Source: PR News Service - ComPort, April 2008

Suez services via Savannah have grown from three services (two container, one mixed) in 2006 to six (five container, one mixed) in 2008. In fact, three Suez services began calling the Port of Savannah in the past year and a half alone. The SINA service began calling in December