The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) board has approved the purchase of nine additional rubber-tyred gantries (RTGs) for the Port of Savannah with the aim to add 1.6mn TEU in new annual capacity by June.

Port of Savannah received five new RTGs on December 03 and this additional purchase will see a total of 29 RTGs delivered to the port.

Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia said, “Through ingenuity and teamwork, GPA has put into place what amounts to the largest current expansion for a port operation in North America.”

“It’s a testament to the leadership and forward thinking at America’s most efficient gateway for containerised trade.”

The Port of Savannah handled 504,350 TEU in October, representing an increase of 9% compared to the same month in 2020.

October 2021 surpassed the GPA’s previous all-time record of 498,000 TEU set in March.

On top of the equipment purchases, the GPA will also add 670,000 TEU of annual capacity at the Garden City Terminal by January 2022.

In early March 155,000 TEU of additional terminal capacity will be available and by June another 850,000 TEU will come online at the port to deliver a total capacity increase of 25% in six months.

Joel Wooten, GPA Board Chairman said, “After our busiest month ever in October, this new container space is coming online just-in-time.”

“By expediting the projects needed to ensure the free flow of cargo, we’re addressing our customer’s concerns today, and working to re-establish our long-time practice of keeping capacity 20% above current demand.”

Off-terminal, GPA has expanded its inland port strategy to include flexible pop-up container yards near manufacturing and distribution centres which will help the company grow by another 500,000 TEU in annual capacity.

GPA has activated the yards in partnership with its two Class I rail providers, CSX and Norfolk Southern, as well as regional property owners.

Four locations in Atlanta, Savannah, Statesboro, and Murray County in Northwest Georgia are up and running – helping to reduce unnecessary container storage time on Garden City Terminal.

The new facilities will also reduce truck traffic – the new Atlanta yard, for example, will avoid more than 500 roundtrip truck miles per box with anticipated volumes of 1,200 containers a month.

Additional sites are also being arranged by the GPA which will bring the total added capacity for this programme to 500,000 TEU.

With the new capacity and customers clearing cargo more quickly, the Port of Savannah has already seen a dramatic drop in the length of time containers are on terminal.

GPA’s Executive Director Griff Lynch noted how the number of import containers on port for more than four weeks has dropped by 53% compared to September.

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