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US Savannah port looks to expand big boxship handling capacity

The US Port of Savannah is looking to expand its capacity to simultaneously handle six 14,000 teu containerships by 2024 under a plan unveiled by Georgia Port Authority’s (GPA) Big Berth/Big Ship program.

By 2024, the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal will feature 37 cranes and the ability to serve six 14,000 teu boxships at a time.

“No other single container terminal in North America has the ability to expand berth capacity at this rate,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of GPA.

Currently, Savannah’s Garden City Terminal is equipped to handle two of these vessels and by April this year that number will increase to three.

In January 2019, the port achieved its busiest month ever in its history, moving 433,975 teu, a 28% jump year-on-year.

“A strong global economy coupled with a growing awareness of Savannah’s logistical advantages are driving sustained growth at our deepwater container terminal,” GPA board chairman Jimmy Allgood said. “GPA’s Big Berth/Big Ship program will ensure Georgia stays ahead of demand and ahead of the competition.”

Over the next five years, the authority plans to add another 21 neo-panamax ship-to-shore cranes, replacing 14 of its older models to bring the total fleet to 37. Dock upgrades are already under way to support the new, larger machines.


Additionally, a dozen new rubber-tired gantry cranes will bring the number Garden City Terminal’s container handling cranes to 158. Ten RTGs will be commissioned in July, another two in September. Phase I of the Mason Mega Rail project will be complete in October 2019. Full completion a year later will double the Port of Savannah’s rail lift capacity to one million containers per year.

In late-2021, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is slated for completion, delivering the deeper water necessary to better accommodate the larger vessels now calling on the US East Coast.

“These advancements are necessary to handle tremendous customer demand at our terminals,” Lynch said.

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