On Monday, the Georgia Ports Authority set to speed up a $150 million expansion at the port of Savannah to ease issues of a significant contributor to inflation.
The Associated Press reported that the port, which is the country’s fourth-busiest port for container cargo, has seen an increase in cargo volume, leading to a lack of space in its container yard and vessels waiting at sea. . This made Savannah experience its busiest month ever in October. During this month, more than 500,000 container units were imported and exported – for the first time ever.
In the 2021 fiscal year ending 30 June, a record 5.3 million container units were handled at Savannah Port.
There are plans to increase the port’s capacity to 25 per cent by June, which has been approved by the state agency’s governing board.
“It was in our long-range plan, but we’re speeding it up,” Port Authority executive director Griff Lynch told the AP. “None of it was planned for this year or next year.”
Lynch said the new storage space for the containers would be about 150 acres. By January, about a third of the 150 acres should be ready. He said the port would be able to handle an additional 1.6 million cargo containers a year.
The $150 million expansion will not only cover the development of land for container storage but will also provide funding for equipment. On Monday, the board approved $24.4 million for new electric-powered cranes to lift and move containers in expanded space.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Like other US ports, the Port of Savannah has scrambled to work through traffic jams caused by record volumes of shipping containers as the economy recovers from the pandemic. Giant metal boxes are used to transport a wide range of goods from consumer electronics to frozen chickens.
Officials are using inland sites to temporarily store cargo and free space at Savannah’s container terminal. The port authority was authorized by the federal government to use $8 million in remaining grant money to set up four such “pop up” container yards in different areas of the state.
Lynch said efforts to reduce the backlog are paying off. There were about 67,000 containers on Monday at the Savannah port terminal, compared to about 85,000 in September, he said. And the number of 13 ships anchored ashore waiting to enter port was nearly half that of months earlier.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Lynch said. “We think this will continue until at least the first quarter of 2022.”