- The Georgia Port Authority (GPA) received a $44 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase rail capacity at the Port of Savannah, the port authority announced last week at Savannah's annual State of the Port event.
- The grant is part of a five year, $128 million project to link the Garden City Terminal's two rail yards and increase lift capacity to 1 million containers per year. The GPA hopes the expansion will reduce local rail crossings and help GPA capture new markets in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest.
- The Port of Savannah handled approximately 3.73 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in 2015. Now 18% of the containers are transported on Class 1 railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX.
The Georgia Port Authority is gearing up to be a major player and wants to dominate inbound intermodal traffic by building out its port.
The port has plans to create one of the largest Mid-American arcs. Once complete, Savannah will have the largest southeast intermodal transit capability. The $128 million project is set to provide the GPA various 24-hour train-ready units able to handle 25 trains per week, which will travel to Mid-America, according to the port authority's presentation.
Since the expansion of the Panama Canal, Savannah has had an increase of 43% in vessel calls. The port is in competition with the ports of New York / New Jersey and the port of Norfolk to capture the large vessel market. All three ports have received the same number of 10,000+ TEU calls over the past two months, according to the port authority's presentation.
Another nod in favor of the ambitious GPA project is flooring retailer Floor and Décor's announcement to open a 1.4 million square-foot distribution center in the Savannah market, to open no later than 2018. As per usual, location is one of the most important factors: The new 90-acre facility will be just 10 miles from the Savannah port.