- The Port of Savannah had a record fiscal year and saw volume increase more than 7%, moving 4.5 million TEUs on the year, the port announced this week. The Port of Virginia also saw record traffic for the year with a 4% increase in traffic, handling 2.9 million TEUs, according to a press release.
- Savannah also saw record intermodal traffic — 506,707 intermodal boxes on the year — with these making up 20% of the total container traffic moving through the facility.
- "The Authority’s investment in the Mason Mega Rail project is coming just in time for our capacity to stay ahead of demand, ensuring the free flow of intermodal cargo," Will McKnight, Georgia Port Authority’s Board Chairman, said in a statement. "The first phase of the project will be complete this year, cutting rail transit time to Midwestern markets by 24 hours."
The Ports of New York and Charleston have yet not released their June traffic numbers.
The ports' record fiscal years included the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 when ports around the country saw some of the highest import volumes in their history. This was the result of importers looking to stockpile goods as the Trump administration pulled the country into a trade war with China, imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods from the nation's largest trading partner and threatening to add more.
The Ports of Savannah and Virginia, when announcing their fiscal year results, said infrastructure projects allowed the facilities to handle more volume. While Savannah focused on its rail project, Virginia highlighted the expansion of its Virginia International Gateway (VIG) terminal and the Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).
"At VIG there is greater flow at our gates, the motor carriers’ reservation system is driving sub-40-minute turn times, we have more cranes and a longer berth where we can handle multiple ULCVs at once and we are building double-stack trains heading to and coming from Midwest markets faster than ever before," Virginia Port Authority CEO John F. Reinhart said in a statement.
Growth at East Coast ports over the last few years has been credited to the continued rise in e-commerce and the fact that a significant percentage of the country's population lives east of the Mississippi River. Rail networks and continued expansion like that highlighted by Savannah also provide a way to easily transport these goods inland.
Port traffic is expected to be relatively high throughout the remainder of the summer, but warehouses space is tight as a result of the stockpiling earlier in the year, so growth headed into peak season is expected to be more modest than it was last year, according to the National Retail Federation.