Photo: Georgia Ports Authority

Photo: Georgia Ports Authority

Marine ports in Georgia ended 2014 with growth in all cargo sectors, including a 10.2% increase in twenty-foot equivalent container units, and a 7.4% increase in total tonnage, according to new figures released by the Georgia Ports Authority.

A busy December helped to lift the Port of Savannah to 3.34 million TEUs for the year, an increase of 312,037 TEUs over 2013. The Port of Brunswick continued its dominant performance in auto and machinery trade, moving 688,575 units for the year. Combined with roll-on/roll-off trade through the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, GPA moved 716,055 units in 2014, an 8.6% increase for the year.

“In 2014, we saw phenomenal growth in every category,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Georgia’s ports benefited from an improving retail economy, renewed strength in manufacturers’ orders of raw goods, and the expanding population of the Southeast.”

The increases were also attributed to labor problems at West Coast ports, causing freight that’s moved out by trucks and railroads to be diverted to other ports, according to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise newspaper.

Breakbulk cargo, such as forest products, iron and steel improved by 12%, or 294,466 tons to reach 2.74 million tons. Meanwhile, bulk cargo such as gypsum, wood pellets and agricultural products saw an increase of 5.7% for a total of 2.81 million tons.

Counting containerized, bulk and breakbulk cargo, total tonnage reached 30.39 million tons, up 2.09 million for the calendar year.

For the month of December, GPA moved a record 68,684 automotive and heavy equipment units, for a year-over-year increase of 20.1%. Also in December, GPA moved 277,633 twenty-foot equivalent container units, up 18%, or 42,333 units. Total tonnage grew by 12.9% to reach 2.67 million tons of cargo in December.

“Commerce has chosen Savannah as the Southeast’s busiest port for containerized cargo,” said GPA Board Chairman James Walters. “With construction beginning on the Savannah Harbor deepening, the Jimmy Deloach Parkway extension moving toward completion, and our continued on-terminal investment, we are solidifying our role as a logistics hub.”