GEORIGA PORTS EDT 2006 - Georgia Ports “on the move” for increased traffic, efficiency

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOTThe Georgia Port Authority (GPA), which manages both the Port of Savannah and Port of Brunswick, is entering a very exciting year, kick-started, in part, by two back-to-back announcements that were made in Fourth Quarter 2005.In September, Target announced it would be constructing a new two million square foot import warehouse facility four miles from the Port of Savannah‚s Garden City Terminal at the Savannah River International Trade Park. Three months later in mid December, IKEA, the world‚s largest home furnishings retailer, also announced plans to build a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center on 115 acres in the same industrial park. Both projects are expected to be operational by summer 2007.
Target operates 41 stores in the state of Georgia , including seven SuperTarget stores, and a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center in Tifton. IKEA‚s Savannah Distribution Center will provide the primary inventory to IKEA stores in the Southeast and Texas, and can supply other stores across the country as needed. In addition, GPA has large parcels of land available for further such development.
GPA officials are convinced that the fact these two well-known retailers have selected the Savannah area for major distribution centers provides additional leverage for logistics providers to expand services in the region. But developments at the port are also attracting attention and fostering growth.
Port of Savannah“This is a very exciting year for the Port of Savannah,” states Robert Morris, GPA director of external affairs.
In February, GPA will bring Phase I of Container Berth 8 on-line. When built out, the terminal will experience 20 percent capacity increase for the entire terminal.
“We expect that some 11,000 new jobs will be created statewide as a result,” says Morris.
Additional improvements in traffic flow and stacking density continue at the Port of Savannah’s existing terminal. “These come in the form of increased crane and lift capacity,” says Morris. ”We are also bringing on line further paving and overlay.”
Two new super post-Panamax cranes that arrived in Savannah in late June have been assembled, tested and are now moving cargo.
“The new cranes have increased operational speed and load capacity, as we continue to accommodate a growing volume of containerized cargo,” says Doug J. Marchand, GPA executive director. “With the recent addition of the two new Super-Post Panamax cranes, gate expansions and the conversion of additional storage areas to accommodate grounded container operations, the Port of Savannah is experiencing record growth and expedited delivery times.”
Helping to drive the growth is the increase in Asian imports. The Port is experiencing increased trade with Northern and Eastern Europe, India, and Africa as well. “In fact, those three markets are growing at a fastest rate than our Asian markets,” Morris says.
The Asian trade, of course, is much larger than the others combined. A good 70% of Savannah’s import/export business is related to Asian trade. But the fact the Port is attracting service to the Mediterranean and Europe an important development with ports up and down the eastern seaboard vying heavily for increased steamship calls.
Among the new service is Turkon Line, which commenced Eastern-Mediterranean service in June. Turkon’s vessel rotation is New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Gemlik, Istanbul, Izmir, New York. The new service will also feature transshipment capabilities to Alexandria, Haifa and Ashdod.
The service provides increased opportunities for Georgia exporters in forest products and kaolin clay to sell in markets like Turkey, Israel and Egypt. Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, Turkon Line offers one of the world’s youngest container fleets.
In addition, in June, CSAV Line signed a formal agreement with the GPA, further enhancing Latin American-US East Coast options.
Proving a plus to all is the fact that improvements at the Port of Savannah’s cont

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American Journal of Transportation