Port of Savannah shipments reach all-time high

Port of Savannah shipments reach all-time high

Chatsworth to offer inland rail link next year

March 20th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Breaking News

FILE- In this Sept. 14, 2015, file photo, the container ship Maersk Karlskrona, right, sails up river past the 300-foot dredge Alaska as it deepens the shipping channel to the port of Savannah off the coast of Tybee Island, Ga. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued an Oct. 21, 2016 public notice announcing it was beginning permitting studies on the massive $4.5 billion container ship terminal on the Savannah River to be jointly built by Georgia and South Carolina. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Cargo shipments to the Port of Savannah in Georgia rose 10 percent last month to an all-time high for February as the widened Panama Canal continued to boost the number and size of ships headed for U.S. east coast ports.

The Panama Canal expansion was completed last June and next year Northwest Georgia and other nearby markets should also benefit with the planned opening of the Appalachian Regional Port for the CSX Railroad near Chatsworth, Ga.

The Georgia Ports Authority said today that it moved 2.94 million tons across all docks at the Port of Savannah last month, second only to January's 3.01 million tons during a month with three more days.

"Ocean carriers have recognized the Port of Savannah as the must-call port to serve the Southeastern U.S.," GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch reported to the Authority Board. "With the coming realignment of the shipping alliances in April, Savannah will offer more container services than any other East Coast or Gulf port, at 35 weekly vessel calls."

Container tonnage was a leading factor in the growth, expanding by 14.4 percent (314,832 tons) to more than 2.5 million tons for the month.

Next year, some of those shipments are likely to head toward the Chattanooga region when a direct, 388-mile rail route to the Georgia Ports Authority's Garden City Terminal is opened.

The $24 facility will open by 2018 with a capacity of 50,000 containers per year. A 10-year development plan will then double that capacity.

The inland port is located on 42 acres in Murray County near Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 41.