During the annual Brunswick State of the Port, Executive Director for the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Doug J. Marchand, announced the Port of Brunswick handled more than 2.6 million tons of cargo, an eight-percent increase, setting a new record for total tonnage during the fiscal year. 

“The Port of Brunswick enjoyed its most productive year ever in FY2008,” Marchand told the sold-out crowd. “Through the consistent support and great efforts of the Brunswick community, our state and federal elected officials and the GPA Board, this port, more than ever before, is poised for greatness. Collectively, we have worked hard and invested wisely to establish world-class facilities. The completion of harbor deepening, the new Sydney Lanier Bridge and facility expansions are yielding results and will continue to benefit the community and state for years to come.” 

The most significant effects of this vastly improved infrastructure are being seen at the Colonel’s Island Terminal. In FY 2008, Colonel’s Island saw a remarkable 29.4-percent increase in total cargo volume, moving more than 1.6 million tons. “An immediate beneficiary of the newly deepened harbor, the driver of this growth was clearly bulk cargo,” said Marchand. “The deeper harbor, along with the new bridge have, as promised, opened Brunswick to newer, larger vessels. With this freedom of transit, bulk cargo at Colonel’s Island soared to an 85.6-percent increase compared with the previous year, handling more than 814,000 tons.” 

To accommodate the increase in volume, Marchand announced plans to build an additional 10,000-ton grain storage tank, which is scheduled for completion by April 2009. 

While bulk cargo growth gained headlines this year, the Colonel’s Island Terminal remains one of the nation’s premier auto handling facilities. “Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) cargo at the Port of Brunswick has tremendous potential for future growth,” said Marchand. Despite the well-publicized struggles of the auto industry, the Port of Brunswick has maintained consistently strong ro/ro throughput.  In fiscal year 2008, the GPA handled more than 368,000 rolling units through the Colonel’s Island facility and secured the return of BMW to Brunswick. This year, the GPA will move about 35,000 BMW units. 

Similar to the deepening project and seizing on the new capacity it provides, the south side expansion has seen virtually immediate success.  In August 2008, Mercedes-Benz broke ground on a 70,000 square-foot processing facility. This facility, the second processor on the south side of Colonel’s Island, will create 122 new jobs for the area and bring an estimated 50,000 additional automobiles through Brunswick. The Mercedes expansion will generate a projected annual benefit of $1.5 million in state and local taxes and add $5.5 million to Georgia’s gross state product. “We have a responsibility to take advantage of the resources that have been provided here,” said Marchand. “The collaborative spirit that the business community has demonstrated here has helped produce great opportunities, and, with the support and investment of our elected leadership, has set in motion new jobs and commercial ventures.”