THE Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced it will break ground early next year on a project to build two post-Panamax berths at its Ocean Terminal in Savannah.
The multi-year, US$350 million project is aimed at transforming what has traditionally been a breakbulk terminal into a more modern container facility, reports IHS Media.
Construction will begin in early 2023, with the first berth expected to be completed in early 2025. A second large berth in Ocean Terminal will be ready for use in 2026.
While container ships have visited Ocean Terminal for decades, it can only handle vessels up to 4,000 TEU, mostly on routes out of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
The terminal has mostly been used to handle vessels with heavy machinery, breakbulk, and other non-containerized freight.
GPA CEO Griff Lynch said Ocean Terminal will be re-designed to handle larger container ships because of fresh investment at the Port of Brunswick's 1,700-acre roll-on/roll-off terminal on Colonel's Island that has allowed it to handle more non-containerized freight.
Savannah today can handle three vessels over 12,000 TEU simultaneously.
The Ocean Terminal project is part of a larger strategy to expand the footprint in Savannah to handle larger vessels and more containers. Laden imports at the port grew 29.3 per cent between January and October compared with the same period in 2019, according to PIERS.
Savannah has also increased landside capacity from 80,000 to 100,000 containers since September 2021, and that is due to grow by another 20 per cent when the Garden City West lot within the Garden City Terminal opens in phases starting next year.