The container ship COSCO Development is guided under the Talmadge Bridge, Thursday morning, May 11, 2017, in Savannah, Ga, as the vessel sails up the Savannah River to the Port of Savannah. The ship is the largest vessel ever to call on the U.S. East Coast. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News via AP)
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Vessel operations at the Port of Brunswick resumed at 8 a.m. Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Irma. By Friday, crews were busy serving three Ro/Ro vessels – the Dover Highway, Onyx Ace and WWL Tiger. 

Auto and container volumes at the U.S. Southeast’s busiest ports in Brunswick and Savannah experienced impressive growth in the month of August.

Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick moved 53,675 units of roll-on/roll off cargo, an increase of 7,109 or 15.3 percent more than August last year.

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In its busiest August on record and the Authority’s second busiest month ever for container trade, Savannah handled 348,297 twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 5.3 percent or 17,451 TEUs compared to the same month a year ago.

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch attributed recent growth, in part, to a strengthening economy and retail customers’ preparations for the holiday season, as well as larger cargo exchanges from the post-Panamax vessels now transiting the expanded Panama Canal.

“The growth we’re experiencing in Savannah and Brunswick demonstrates that the logistics market has chosen Georgia’s deepwater ports as must-call gateways for trade,” Lynch said. “Better road and rail connections, unmatched terminal efficiency, and the GPA’s commitment to infrastructure investment means rock-solid reliability through our ports.”

To accommodate growing customer demand in Brunswick, the GPA is adding auto processing space. In July 2016, Colonel’s Island had 60,000 vehicle spaces. By October, the GPA will have added 30,000 new spaces, with plans to add another 60,000. The full expansion will bring Brunswick’s total annual throughput capacity to 1.4 million vehicles.

“Already the largest autoport in the Southeast, Colonel’s Island has more room to grow than any other Ro/Ro facility in the nation,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “The Authority’s plan to expand the physical infrastructure will double our capacity for auto processing.”

Similarly, the GPA will increase Savannah’s ship-to-shore container crane fleet to 36 within two years and double on-terminal rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year by 2021.

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Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for GeorgiaPol.com and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’

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