Georgia Ports - GPA prepares for future successes

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

The AJOT recently asked the GPA to comment on infrastructure and future developments at the ports.
Q: AJOT: On September 23 you said that the GPA anticipates 150% growth in the Port of Savannah over the next 15 years that will raise throughput to over 4 million teus. In order to accommodate such growth the infrastructure beyond the terminal, often called the “last mile” will have to keep pace with expansion inside the port. What needs to be done region-wide, in the greater port community, to prepare for the anticipated increase in container volumes?
A: GPA: As far as rail expansion is concerned, we are ready. We currently have four 2,500-foot tracks in our ICTF. We have the room and are able to expand to four additional tracks when necessary. We are currently working with the Department of Transportation on new designs for direct highway access in and out of the terminal.
Q: AJOT: Trade with China/Asia, coupled with all-water services to the East Coast, has raised box volumes throughout the port range, and in the case of the GPA, in both directions. What impact do you anticipate that the China trade will have on your ports in the near term?
A: GPA: “China trade has a huge impact on the Port of Savannah,” said John Wheeler, General Manager of Trade Development at the Georgia Ports Authority. We fully expect to continue this growth, although it all may not arrive via the Panama Canal. We are being told by our services that the Suez Canal will be used a great deal in the latter part of 2005.
Q: AJOT: An essential feature of the GPA’s competitive advantage is the Distribution Centers (12) that the port services. How has the GPA been so successful in attracting DCs to the region?
A: GPA: We spend as much time talking with our retailers and potential DC customers as we do with the steamship lines. We work with them to make it as easy as possible and as cheap as possible, on a per unit cost basis, to access their containers.
Q: AJOT: The GPA has a number of expansion projects in the works. How far along is Container Berth 8? When completed, how much additional capacity will the berth add?
A: GPA: The wharf project is 30% complete. Overall, the project will add up to 100 acres of container handling and storage area.
Q: AJOT: The GPA has two port dredging projects underway; Savannah and Brunswick.
1) In the case of Brunswick it was reported that only $10 million of the $38 million funding approved by the Army Corp of Engineers has been appropriated. What are the options for pushing the project along to conclusion?
A: GPA: “The GPA has had tremendous support from our Georgia delegation for our federal projects,” said David Schaller, Deputy Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “We are currently working with our Senators to increase the $10 million House award for FY2005. With the continued assistance of our Congressmen, GPA believes we can complete this project in a timely manner.”
2. Savannah channel is to be deepened from 42 to 48 feet by 2010. How far along in the process is the dredging project?
A: GPA: The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is moving forward with most of the required scientific work complete. The goal is to issue the draft of the Tier II environmental impact study for public comment next year. Once all of the necessary agency approvals are in place, a Record of Decision could be signed by the Chief of Engineers in 2007, allowing the project to move forward to construction.
Q: AJOT: The issue of congestion at the terminal gates due to increased traffic has dogged nearly every East Coast port. What are some of the mitigation measures you have instituted to improve gate flow?
A: GPA: There are a number of things that can be attributed to the improvements to the flow of gate traffic at the Georgia Ports Authority. Improved processes at the gate have greatly effected the gate operations. We have implemented a pre-gate measure to approve the truckers’ mission before they even arrive at the gate. The local dispatchers, truck drivers and

American Journal of Transportation