Port of Savannah

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The Port of Savannah is a major U. S. seaport located at Savannah, Georgia. Its extensive facilities for oceangoing vessels line both sides of the Savannah River approximately 18 miles (29 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. Operated by the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), the Port of Savannah competes primarily with the Port of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina to the northeast, and the Port of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida to the south. The GPA operates one other Atlantic seaport in Georgia, the Port of Brunswick, located at Brunswick, Georgia, as well as two interior ports linked to the Gulf of Mexico, Port Bainbridge and Port Columbus.

The location of the Port of Savannah, GA

Between 2000 and 2005 alone, the Port of Savannah was the fastest-growing seaport in the United States, with a compounded annual growth rate of 16.5 percent (the national average is 9.7 percent).

On July 30, 2007, the GPA announced that the Port of Savannah had a record year in fiscal 2007, becoming the fourth-busiest and fastest-growing container terminal in the U. S.[1] The GPA handled more than 2.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of container traffic during fiscal 2007 – a 14.5 percent increase and a new record for containers handled at the Port of Savannah. In the past five years, the port's container traffic has jumped 55 percent from 1.5 million TEU handled in fiscal 2003 to 2.3 million TEU in fiscal 2007.

Major facilities[edit]

  • Garden City Terminal: Owned and operated by the GPA, the Garden City Terminal is a secured, dedicated container terminal, the largest of its kind on the U. S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The 1,200-acre (5 km2) single-terminal facility features 9,693 feet (2,955 m) of continuous berthing and more than 1.3 million square feet (120,000 m2) of covered storage. The terminal is equipped with fifteen high-speed container cranes (4 super post-panamax and 11 post-panamax), as well as an extensive inventory of yard handling equipment.
  • Ocean Terminal: Also owned and operated by the GPA, the Ocean Terminal is a secured, dedicated breakbulk facility specializing in the rapid and efficient handling of a vast array of forest and solid wood products, steel, RoRo (Roll-on / Roll-off), project shipments and heavy-lift cargoes. The 208-acre (0.8 km2) facility features 6,688 feet (2,039 m) of deepwater berthing, approximately 1.5 million square feet (140,000 m2) of covered storage and 96 acres (390,000 m2) of open, versatile storage.
  • Target Corporation Facility: On September 21, 2005, Governor Sonny Perdue announced that Target Corporation has decided to build a two-million-square-foot import warehouse at the Savannah River International Trade Park, located four miles (6 km) from the Garden City Terminal at the Port of Savannah. The import warehouse opened on June 8, 2007, and handles overseas cargo and merchandise for Target Corporation's Southeast stores.
  • IKEA Facility: On December 13, 2005, Perdue and IKEA officials announced that IKEA, the world’s largest home furnishings retailer, has plans to build a 1,700,000-square-foot (160,000 m2) distribution center on 115 acres (0.5 km2) at the Savannah River International Trade Park. The first phase of the project consists of a 685,000-square-foot (63,600 m2) facility, which opened on June 27, 2007. The company also plans to expand the initial facility by approximately 975,000 square feet (90,600 m2) in the future.

Maersk Line[edit]

On April 10, 2007, Maersk Line reported that the port has added the Port of Savannah to its MECL2 service. With the addition, Arlington, Va.-based Maersk Line now has five services calling on the Port of Savannah. The MECL2 service will increase Savannah's trade with India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin. In 2006, Maersk Line and the GPA signed a twenty-year agreement that would make the Port of Savannah one of its primary ports of call in the South Atlantic. "In response to the needs of our customers, who have long sought a weekly U. S. direct service from southern India, we are pleased to introduce this unique service to enhance Savannah's port," a Maersk spokesperson said. "Our goal is to reduce transit time between the two destinations by as much as four days, while also providing expanded port coverage, optimal sailing frequency and unmatched schedule integrity." The MECL2 service provides direct service from Chennai/Madras, India, providing southern India with a direct link to and from the U. S. It also allows Chennai/Madras to act as transshipment hub for cargo to and from Visakhapatnam, Calcutta/Haldia, and Bangladesh. MECL2 also provides improved service reliability in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. "We appreciate Maersk Line's confidence in the Georgia Ports Authority's facilities and services by selecting Savannah as the MECL2 service's first port of call on the U. S. East Coast," said Doug J. Marchand, executive director of the GPA.

Suez Express and East Coast Savannah Express[edit]

On June 5, 2007, APL announced that it will soon have two new all-water services to the Port of Savannah, one via the Suez Canal and one via the Panama Canal. The weekly Suez Express (SZX) will provide increased capacity via Savannah to and from India and Southeast Asia, deploying eight vessels. The SZX, which will originate in Singapore, calls on Colombo, Sri Lanka, before Savannah and then returns via Jebel Ali, Port Kelang and then Singapore. It will take just twenty-five days for the SZX service to transit from Singapore to Savannah. The weekly East Coast Savannah Express (ESX), will provide increased capacity between south and central China and Savannah. The ESX will offer a transit time of just twenty-two days from Hong Kong to Savannah, making this service the fastest available to the U.S. East Coast. The ESX will originate in Ningbo then call on Shanghai, Chiwan, Hong Kong, Panama and then Savannah, New York, Norfolk, Panama and back to Ningbo. "These new services are a direct result of the Georgia Ports Authority's successful efforts to stay ahead of the growth curve and invest in terminal improvements and expansion," said Doug J. Marchand, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. "The ability of South Atlantic ports to accommodate future growth both in terminal capacity and with nearby acreage for distribution centers is a very real issue for our customers. Savannah continues to be the nation's fastest-growing container port."

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