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Georgia Ports Report Auto Volumes up for Eighth Straight Month

A Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel prepares to offload cargo at the Port of Brunswick. The Georgia Ports Authority handled nearly 64,000 units of autos and heavy machinery in March, an increase of 22 percent over the same month last year.

The Georgia Ports Authority has achieved eight consecutive months of growth for Roll-on/Roll-off cargo. The Port of Brunswick handled 62,100 units of vehicles and heavy equipment in March, while Savannah’s Ocean Terminal added another 1,700 units, for a total of 63,800.

March volumes increased 22 percent over the same month last year.

“New customers and increasing trade from our longtime partners have resulted in outstanding growth at the Port of Brunswick,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Colonel’s Island Terminal is unmatched in the nation, in terms of available space, connectivity to major markets, and the ease and efficiency of doing business.”

More than two dozen automakers rely on the Port of Brunswick.

For the fiscal year to date through March, GPA has handled 540,735 units of vehicles and heavy equipment, an increase of 80,443 units or 17.5 percent. GPA’s monthly average in Fiscal Year 2023 for Ro/Ro cargo is now 60,082 units, compared to FY22’s average of 51,144.

“The logjam in microchip availability is starting to break, and manufacturers have increased production to meet pent-up demand,” said GPA Chief Commercial Officer Cliff Pyron. “Asian and European trade lanes account for most of the expansion in Brunswick’s trade, but production in Mexico is a growing factor.”

Pyron noted European automakers were especially hard hit by the chip shortage, and are now benefiting from increased chip availability. He added that with manufacturers increasing production capacity in Mexico, Brunswick is positioned well to receive additional short-sea trade.

“Additionally, Nissan began using the Port of Brunswick in early September, so the new business plays a large part in GPA’s robust auto trade,” Pyron said.

To expand capacity at Colonel’s Island, construction has started on 350,000 square feet of near-dock warehousing that will serve auto processing, as well as three additional buildings and 85 acres of auto storage on the south side of the island. A planned fourth berth for Ro/Ro vessels is in the engineering phase.

The projects will increase annual capacity in Brunswick from 1.2 million to 1.4 million units of Ro/Ro cargo.

“The hub port model at Colonel’s Island delivers greater efficiency, with its four on-site auto processors, room to grow, and unmatched proximity to dealerships in major markets,” said Bruce Kuzma, GPA senior director of Trade Development, for ocean carrier and non-container sales. “We are thankful for the powerful support from our customers, and look forward to continuing to deliver world-class service and reliability.”

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