A truck moves past containers at the Port of Savannah. Photo: GPA/Stephen B. Morton

A truck moves past containers at the Port of Savannah. Photo: GPA/Stephen B. Morton

The Georgia Ports Authority reached an all-time high in container trade in July, moving 293,889 twenty-foot equivalent container units at Savannah’s Garden City Terminal, a 19.2% increase over the previous year.

“Improved confidence among U.S. retailers, newly added port customers, and shifting cargo from U.S. West to East Coast ports are all fueling the growing cargo volumes at Georgia’s deepwater ports,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Savannah has the space to more than double its throughput as more shippers choose East Coast ports to serve the fast-growing Southeastern U.S.”

GPA surpassed its previous twenty-foot equivalent units record set in May by 3,453 units. The July TEU performance was up 47,237 TEUs compared to July 2013. Since January, the Port of Savannah has averaged 269,688 TEUs per month.

In overall trade, 2.52 million tons of cargo moved across GPA docks in July, up 12.8% or 287,600 tons compared to the same month a year ago. Of that figure, container trade accounted for 2.14 million tons, up 15.7% from the 1.85 million tons of containerized goods GPA moved in July 2013.

In roll-on/roll-off traffic, the GPA moved 61,860 units of autos and heavy machinery, up 8.5% or 4,870 compared to the same period last year. In the broader breakbulk category, throughput reached 226,493 tons, up 7% from the 211,638 tons moved last July.

The Journal of Commerce reports this news comes as recent figures show East Coast ports are slowly taking business away from West Coast competitors, gaining a 0.3% market share in the first half of the year.

Some caution the move could be due to labor contract talks between West Coast dockworkers and terminal operators, with shippers afraid of possible disruptions or slowdowns, however JOC cited data showing East Coast ports have increased their first half of the year share of the market 1.8 percentage points since 2010.

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