GPA Posts Record Numbers For December
By: Savannah Morning News
1/29/2013 10:10:52 AM
The Georgia Ports Authority ended calendar year 2012 with a strong December, marking an 11.7 percent increase in total tonnage across all terminals and a 21.8 percent increase in auto and machinery units compared to December 2011.
The total volume of 2.27 million tons puts December among the top 10 months on record and the highest performing December ever, GPA executive director Curtis Foltz told his board Monday.
"This figure, boosted in part by outstanding growth in sectors such as bulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo, is the result of GPA's exceptional cargo diversity and overall performance," Foltz said.
The total tonnage figure was up more than 238,000 tons, or 11.7 percent, compared to December 2011.
Container tonnage was 1.76 million in December, a jump of 4.2 percent. TEU throughput for the month hit 219,128 units, an improvement of 2.2 percent, or 4,656 units, over the previous year. A TEU is the equivalent of one 20-foot container.
Colonel's Island in Brunswick and Savannah's Ocean Terminal moved a combined 54,884 auto and machinery units, an increase of 18.2 percent, making December the fifth busiest month on record for rolling cargo.
"Our December figures show an important uptick in total tonnage across all facilities, as well as impressive auto volumes," said board chairman Robert Jepson.
STRIKE THREAT COOLS CONTAINER NUMBERS
A review of the first half of fiscal 2013 - July through December - has total tonnage across all terminals up 4.1 percent at 13.3 million tons, while rolling cargo reached nearly 321,000 units for a year-over-year growth of 21.8 percent.
At 1.3 million tons, breakbulk was up nearly 11 percent, while bulk tonnage increased by 62 percent to reach 1.2 million tons.
However, the total number of TEUs was down 1.1 percent for the fiscal year-to-date, at 1.45 million. This drop was due primarily to the ongoing diversion of Asian imports to the West Coast as the threat of an East Coast strike by the International Longshoremen's Association continues, Foltz said.
"Savannah has lost approximately 6,000 containers per month since October, and we project this to continue until a new labor contract is ratified," he said.
GPA revenue for the month of December was $23.2 million, 10.6 percent higher than the same month in 2011. Revenues of $144.6 million for the first half of the fiscal year were slightly lower than budgeted, but 5.3 percent higher than the same period in 2011.
The positive revenue numbers for the period were attributable to strong breakbulk and bulk cargo, while container revenues were down on softer volume.
Lower than expected container volumes were partially mitigated by higher-than-budgeted refrigerated and intermodal rail activity, Foltz reported.
DEEPENING PREP PROGRESSING
Although mitigation discussions with South Carolina's Savannah River Maritime Authority and the Southern Environmental Law Center - both opponents of the project - are ongoing, several required design components are under way.
Among them are the city of Savannah's raw water storage, the dissolved oxygen project, the McCoys Cut diversion, the fish bypass near Augusta, the removal of the CSS Georgia, outer harbor dredging and dike removal.
Real estate appraisals, surveys and other preparatory work are also under way.
"Make no mistake - this project continues to move along," Foltz told the board.
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