State News

Georgia ports officials say economic ‘correction’ could slow growth of freight traffic

(The Center Square) — While the Georgia Ports Authority continues to handle a high volume of freight, officials are warning that its growth could moderate, another sign of a looming economic “correction.”

GPA said the Port of Savannah handled more than 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, which started in July. That represents 9.6%, or 135,000 TEUs, more than last year.

“A high number of ad hoc vessel calls, the addition of three new Mediterranean services, and one new service to Asia contributed to the growth,” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said in a release. “Additionally, our regular services have been arriving with significantly more cargo destined for Savannah.

“While we have seen powerful growth across the first quarter, we are beginning to see signs of correction in the market,” Lynch added.

GPA officials said that while the ports will experience “moderated” growth compared to what it saw during the past two years, it will return to a more typical growth rate.

“We’re expecting a gradual easing in demand based on several factors, including a shift in the balance of consumer spending away from goods and back to services, and the impact of inflation on the economy,” GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten said in a release. “After having increased trade at a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent over the past two fiscal years, this change will represent a return to a more typical rate of growth for GPA.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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