The Georgia Ports Authority Board approved Monday $86.5 million to purchase four new ship-to-shore cranes and 20 new rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) used to handle containers at Garden City Terminal.
“Our continued infrastructure investments enable us to work larger vessels and provide faster service to our customers,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “With this latest update to our crane fleet, the Port of Savannah will add capacity and opportunity for future growth.”
This latest order of new cranes is scheduled to arrive in February 2016, and will give GPA a total of 20 Super Post-Panamax cranes and nine Post-Panamax cranes, more than any other single, self-funded terminal in the U.S. The action today comes on the heels of eight additional ship-to-shore cranes purchased between 2009 and 2013.
Designed by Konecranes of Finland and assembled in Nantong, China, these enormous cranes can reach across vessels 22 containers wide to a height of 136 feet above the dock. The cranes operate over 9,700 feet of contiguous berth space.
The RTGs, which are employed to handle cargo in the container field, will arrive in periodic shipments over the next two years. All 20 cranes will have the capacity to convert to electric power as the GPA continues its effort to transition away from diesel fuel. The 20-crane purchase will bring the Port of Savannah’s RTG fleet to 136.
“An unparalleled fleet of 29 ship-to-shore cranes, when combined with the pending harbor deepening, on-terminal rail and direct access to Interstate 95 mean the Port of Savannah is truly the best option for conducting global trade with the Southeastern U.S.,” said GPA Board Chairman Robert Jepson.
Also on Monday, Foltz reported to the board a record month in April for GPA’s automobile and machinery terminals.
The Ports of Brunswick and Savannah moved 67,963 auto and machinery units in April – up 17.8 percent compared to figures from last year. Total roll-on/roll-off units moved for the first 10 months of the fiscal year (July-April) across GPA docks reached 571,054, also a new record.
“Our dramatic growth in Ro/Ro volume shows the market has discovered the competitive advantages of our dedicated autoport in Brunswick,” Foltz said. “Interstate access, on-terminal rail, ample space and four on-site auto processors make Brunswick the Southeast’s must-call port for automakers.”
Compared to April 2013, breakbulk cargo saw the largest jump of any single GPA business sector during the month – improving by 26.4 percent, or 48,597 tons, to reach 232,834 tons in April.
More generally, Georgia’s ports continued a steady growth trend in April. GPA terminals improved total tonnage by 4.6 percent, or 111,386 tons, compared to a year ago, reaching 2.52 million tons of cargo moved during the month. Twenty-foot equivalent container units were also up, with GPA moving 266,930 TEUs during April, an increase of nearly 8,000 units, or 3.1 percent, for the month. This puts the Port of Savannah on track to achieve a 3-million TEU fiscal year. Savannah’s Garden City Terminal moved 3.03 million TEUs in calendar year 2013.
Jepson said. “Consistent investments in improved infrastructure have led to GPA’s ability to deliver cargo to market faster than ever before.”