The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), Garden City, Ga., announced the sale of 500 acres of property for commercial development to accommodate growing customer demand for warehousing, distribution and transload facilities near the Port of Savannah.

The new development, located on five parcels of land at GPA's Savannah River International Trade Park, is less than five miles from the Garden City Container Terminal and can accommodate up to 5 million square feet of logistics space.

"Today's announcement will help further establish Savannah as a gateway port for the U.S. Southeast and beyond," says Griff Lynch, executive director. "With an increased demand for reliable, cost-effective logistics opportunities, this development is another example of GPA's focus on supply chain solutions for our customers."

The project is just one mile from I-95, and will help fill a growing need to service a larger range of customers from the Southeast to the Midwest United States. January was the third month in a row of record performances at the Savannah container port, with the authority moving 331,190 20-foot equivalent container units, an improvement of 16.1% (45,889 TEUs).

The GPA reported for November 2016 a 5.8% increase in container traffic, reaching 300,671 TEUs. In December 2016, the Port of Savannah handled 292,172 TEUs, a 12.3% increase over December 2015.

"The expansion we're seeing in our container volumes constitutes a strong vote of confidence from our new and long-time port customers," says Jimmy Allgood, GPA board chairman. "Keeping ahead of demand requires infrastructure development in both the public and private sector. The new facilities destined for our trade park are part of that equation. The GPA is also making the on-terminal improvements necessary to stay ahead of demand."

Other efforts to increase capacity at the Georgia Ports Authority include:

  • A rail expansion project at Garden City Terminal will double the Port of Savannah's rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year. A part of GPA's Mid-American Arc initiative, the expansion will better accommodate 10,000-foot-long unit trains. This $128 million project will make more efficient use of rail infrastructure. The Mid-American Arc enhances global trade options for manufacturers in cities such as St. Louis and Chicago, potential customers who might not have considered Savannah previously, despite rail distances comparable to ports in the Northeast. Partially funded by a $44 million federal grant, the project will be complete in 2021.
  • In 2016, GPA added:
  • As part of Gov. Nathan Deal's initiative to improve and expand surface transportation across Georgia, the state opened the Jimmy DeLoach Connector in 2016, providing direct truck access between Garden City Terminal and Interstate 95. The connector cuts 11 minutes from the drive time between the port and the interstate.
  • In December 2016, the GPA broke ground on its new inland terminal in Northwest Georgia—the Appalachian Regional Port. GPA estimates the CSX rail route will reduce Atlanta truck traffic by 50,000 moves annually, and expand GPA's target market in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
  • At the Port of Brunswick, more than 200 acres are in the design or development stages, adding more space for auto processing at Colonel's Island Terminal.
    • Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics already occupies 20 of those additional acres, while International Auto Processing leased another 49.
    • A separate 30-acre parcel should come online this month.

The long-term plan is to add 600 acres on the island's south side to support auto processing, doubling the capacity for cars and heavy machinery in Brunswick.