The Port of Savannah is growing. Both the widening of the Panama Canal and the expansion of regional industrial activities are amplifying demand. Globalising automotive supply chains are playing a part too.
The Georgia Port Authority has recently announced a major expansion programme that will increase the container handling capacity of the ‘Garden City Terminal’, Savannah’s container terminal, to 10m TEUs by 2028. The infrastructure to do this will include a purchase of 42 Panamax gantry cranes. The terminal handled 4m TEUs in 2017. The approach to the port has also been dredged enabling it to handle the largest Post-Panamax vessels with greater flexibility.
The authority also plans to build a landside freight transport infrastructure capable of handling “1 million rail lifts”. This will include the ‘Mason Mega Rail’ project at the Garden City Terminal and a further intermodal terminal inland in north western Georgia.
In addition, the port will develop both its breakbulk facility and its ro-ro terminal, the latter being one of the US’ largest car handling facilities. The aim is to expand volumes to 1m cars and their high & heavy equivalents within ten years.
Although not comparable to some of the giant facilities in Asia Pacific, a terminal of 10m TEUs is similar to capacities seen at terminals in the European Le Havre-Hamburg range. While the rationale behind Savannah’s expansion is the growth of Asia Pacific trade passing through the enlarged Panama Canal, it might also be seen as evidence of how trade patterns are evolving away from the dominance of China-West Coast and China-Europe routes.
Supply chains such as those linking the car assembly plants of Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama are becoming increasingly global, linking not only Europe to North America but increasingly including South America as well. The traffic in both components and finished vehicles is gradually increasing, reflecting greater vehicle production volumes but also the growing attractiveness of moving complex assemblies between major production centres.
Source: Transport Intelligence, February 15, 2018
Author: Thomas Cullen
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