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Georgia Ports Authority takes the wraps off new Savannah projects

11.13.17 GPA project announced.jpg
When complete, GPA's Mason Mega Rail Terminal will double rail lift capacity to 1 million containers per year, reach new markets and reduce impact on the local community. (Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton)

Savannah’s growing port is about to take another big step.

On the heels of reporting 32 percent growth in containerized trade for October, an all-time record for Savannah, the Georgia Ports Authority has approved rail and gate expansion projects.

The new projects will significantly increase capacity at GPA’s Garden City Terminal – the single largest container terminal in all of North America, according to a news release.

On Monday, the board approved expenditures of more than $42 million as part of GPA’s $128 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal, the release said.

The project will not only double the Port of Savannah’s on-dock rail capacity, but position Savannah to rapidly increase service to an arc of inland markets from Memphis to Chicago.

A total of $90.7 million has been allocated to the project thus far.

Construction is slated to begin next month and be completed by the end of 2020, the release stated.

The board also approved a $13.2 million project to expand the existing Gate 8 at Garden City Terminal.

The addition will help the GPA seamlessly absorb future growth and offer a better link to the Jimmy Deloach Parkway, which provides a direct truck route to I-95.

The project will expand the terminal’s gate infrastructure to a total of 54 truck lanes.

“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,” said Executive Director Griff Lynch. “But 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.”

In addition to record container volumes, Lynch reported that total tonnage for all terminals climbed by 25 percent, from 2.6 million to 3.2 million tons, for an additional 661,290 tons of cargo.

Breakbulk tonnage, primarily the movement of lumber, steel and autos, also increased by 14.7 percent, signifying the growing strength of construction and manufacturing in the U.S. Southeast, he said.