(The Center Square) — The Georgia Ports Authority plans to expand its Ocean Terminal complex in Savannah to accommodate expanding container operations.
Port officials said they will use Series 2022 Revenue Bonds to fund the $410 million dock renovation and realignment.
As part of the project, port officials plan to move breakbulk cargo carried by global carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean to the Port of Brunswick’s Colonel’s Island Terminal. To facilitate the shift, the ports have started construction of 360,000 square feet of dockside warehousing for auto processing and 85 acres of auto storage space on the island’s south side.
“For nearly 40 years, Ocean Terminal has been handling a mix of container ships and breakbulk vessels,” Griff Lynch, executive director of the GPA, said in an announcement.
“The realignment is part of a broader effort to transform the terminal into an all-container operation, shifting most breakbulk cargo to the Port of Brunswick,” Lynch added. “Completion of this project will improve our flexibility and allow Georgia Ports to optimize cargo movement, supporting our customers in delivering goods to market efficiently.”
The move comes after the Port of Savannah reported its busiest October, handling nearly 553,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. However, officials said they expect container volumes to decline as the end of the year approaches.
Port officials said they plan to execute the work in phases and will continue to operate container ships at the 200-acre Ocean Terminal as work proceeds. Work includes updating the docks to include 2,800 linear feet of berth space, enabling the facility to simultaneously serve two “big” ships.
“While we are beginning to see an anticipated market correction, it is important that GPA move forward with projects like the Ocean Terminal enhancements to accommodate business growth,” GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten said in an announcement. “Through continued infrastructure improvement, we will ensure the free flow of commerce, and our ability to meet expanding customer demand.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor