Georgia Ports Authority Hosts King and Queen of The Netherlands

The Georgia Ports Authority hosted His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of The Netherlands, along with a delegation of Dutch businesses, at the Port of Savannah on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Georgia is The Netherlands tenth-largest U.S. trade partner, with trade in goods and services totaling $3.9 billion annually.

Business investment, sustainable port development and trade growth opportunities are topics at the Port of Savannah.

Georgia Ports Authority President and CEO Griff Lynch welcomed His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of The Netherlands to the Port of Savannah this afternoon as part of the Dutch Royal Couple’s three-day working visit to the United States.

The GPA hosted a tour of America’s third busiest gateway container port, and roundtable discussions with Dutch industry and business leaders, as well as government officials on Sustainable Port Development and Hinterland Connectivity.

These topics are of particular interest in The Netherlands, which is home to the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport and the world’s 10th-busiest container port, handling 13.45 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Container Units (TEUs) in 2023.  As a gateway port to the European continent and the Baltic region, Rotterdam is a major transshipment hub; (by comparison, the Port of Savannah, the second-busiest on the US East Coast, and 30th globally in container volume, is scheduled to handle 5 million TEUs this year).

The Savannah port tour for the Royal Couple and the Dutch delegation included a visit to Garden City Terminal’s nine berths – the largest single container terminal in the U.S. with 37 vessel calls per week.  GPA’s Mason Mega Rail facility, the largest intermodal container handling operation in the Western Hemisphere, was also included on the tour. Covering 85 acres, with 18 tracks, the facility has the ability to transfer containers from vessels to doublestack trains in less than 24 hours for express service to inland destinations, representing the fastest vessel-to-rail transfer time in the U.S. – an important metric for gateway ports. The facility handles 21 trains per week.

“We are honored to welcome His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima, and their Dutch business delegation, to the Port of Savannah on behalf of the Georgia Ports Authority, and the people of the Great State of Georgia,” stated Mr. Lynch. The Port of Savannah and the Port of Rotterdam are both key gateway ports serving large interior markets. “Speaking with the King and Queen today – we have seen many opportunities ahead to do more business through our complementary port and logistics networks.”   Two direct container services link the Ports of Savannah and Rotterdam.  The OCEAN Alliance’s TAT2/ATE1/Liberty Bridge and CMA CGM & Marfet’s RTW PAD which offer transit times from Rotterdam to Savannah in as little as 15 days and from Savannah to Rotterdam in 13 days.

Georgia is The Netherlands tenth-largest U.S. trade partner, with trade in goods and services totaling $3.9 billion annually. The Ports of Savannah and Brunswick play an integrated role in the State of Georgia’s attractive business and supply chain environment. Strategic market access to the U.S. Southeast region’s growing consumer base is a reason why Dutch and other international and domestic companies are choosing Georgia as a logistics hub. The GPA is planning to increase annual container throughput capacity from the current 7.5 million TEUs to 12 million TEUs by 2030. In terms of sustainability, the GPA is also actively promoting a modal shift from truck to train to decrease the carbon emissions generated by container movements from port to their final inland destinations beyond 250 miles, as well as investing heavily in electric cranes and machinery at the terminals. One of the goals of this visit was to exchange experiences and strategies in addressing the environmental, social and infrastructure challenges of a rapidly expanding port.

“Georgia and The Netherlands are leaders in global supply chain infrastructure. Our ports are major lifelines for the transport of a variety of goods to come in and leave our shores. It is crucial that The Netherlands and the United States, and Georgia in particular, continue to learn from each other and work together on sustainable port development ensuring connectivity from our ports to the rest of the U.S. and the EU,” said Dutch Ambassador Birgitta Tazelaar.

The Port of Savannah’s total container trade with The Netherlands was 36,846 TEUs in Calendar Year 2023 (CY2023), up 9% vs. CY2022.  During this time, exports to the Netherlands increased 11% (+2,581) and imports from The Netherlands increased 3%.

Automotive, Food, and Machinery, Appliances & Electronics were the top commodity groups exported via the Port of Savannah to The Netherlands during calendar year 2023. Source: JOC Piers data

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