The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has approved rail and gate expansion work that is expected to boost capacity at the Garden City Terminal.
The Garden City Terminal is the largest container terminal in North America, GPA noted.
The board approved the allocation of $42.27 million on Nov. 13 as part of the GPA’s $128 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal project.
The project is intended to expand the Port of Savannah’s on-dock rail capacity by 100 percent and help Savannah, Ga., to increase service to inland markets from Memphis, Tenn., to Chicago.
The Port of Savannah handled 8.5 percent of containerized cargo volume in the U.S. and 10 percent of all national containerized exports in fiscal year 2017, according to the GPA.
So far, $90.7 million has been budgeted to the project, with construction set to start in December and wrap up by the end of 2020.
GPA Executive Director Griffith Lynch also reported to the GPA board that total tonnage for all terminals climbed by 25 percent—to 3.2 million tons from 2.6 million—adding 661,290 tons of cargo.
Breakbulk tonnage also saw a 14.7 percent hike, which Lynch said is exemplary of the growth of manufacturing and construction in the U.S. Southeast, he said.
“What makes Georgia and the [GPA] a continuing success story is the relentless effort to stay one step ahead of the curve and the competition,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “The projects approved today will do exactly that.”
The GPA board approved a $13.2 million project to expand the Gate 8 at the Garden City Terminal. The GPA said the planned work will help the state authority absorb future growth and offer a better link to the Jimmy Deloach Parkway, which provides a direct truck route to Interstate 95. The project will expand the terminal’s gate infrastructure by 12.5 percent, allowing space for 54 total truck lanes.
Lynch said the new pre-check lanes will cut down on truck congestion and the Mega Rail Terminal will reduce or eliminate rail crossings.
“A strong Southeast U.S. economy, on-terminal expansion and investment by private logistics firms throughout the region have resulted in phenomenal growth for Georgia,” Lynch said. “These record volumes could not have been possible without the tireless dedication of the men and women responsible for moving this cargo. From the GPA and the International Longshoreman Association, to the stevedores and logistics community, thank you for a job well done.”