A New Era Begins for the Port of Savannah-Larger Vessels and More Services

Posted by Andrea LaVorgna


The MOL Benefactor was loaded with over 3000 containers at the Port of Savannah (POS).  It was the first vessel to call on the Port on July 13th through the new locks of the expanded Panama Canal. At a capacity of 10,100 twenty-foot equivalent container units, the Benefactor was also the largest ship ever to call on the POS.

The arrival of the MOL Benefactor is a new era of larger vessels and services that increases the capacity, volumes and economic opportunities for Georgia Port Authority (GPA) and POS. GPA is well-positioned to handle the larger vessels and greater volumes due to the scale and scope of operations. The Benefactor’s next stop was the Manzanillo International Terminal in Panama-see the AIS vessel tracks below showing it's journey through the Panama Canal.  


In October 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) signed a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA), allowing construction for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The SHEP will deepen the inner harbor to 47 feet and the outer harbor to 49 feet at mean low water to better accommodate the larger vessels via water.  With the deepening of the Panama Canal, it’s critical that there are adequate transportation corridors around the POS that can accommodate the increased activity.

Additionally, a $44 Million Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase rail capacity was awarded to the GPA this year. The funds will be used to build an International Multi-modal Connector  at the Port of Savannah. It is expected to take five years to complete. POS is the nation's fourth busiest container port and rail expansion is a key component to freight mobility in the US.  This grant project will increase rail capacity and velocity at the Garden City Container Terminal/POS as well as provide key benefits to surrounding communities by improving public safety, reducing environmental impacts and avoiding commuter traffic. 

During the next six months to a year, GPA expects a higher ratio of 8,000- to 10,000- TEU container ships among their vessels calls. Within two years, they expect the market shifts to send 12,000-TEU vessels to the U.S. East Coast.  

The state of Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 369,000 jobs throughout the state and contributes $20.4 billion in income, $84.1 billion in revenue and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8.2 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.3 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in CY2015.

PortVision is used  at ports  and terminals all over the world to monitor real-time and historical vessel traffic. The Port of Morgan City uses PortVision to generate  data to validate its national port ranking, and the Port of New Orleans uses it to enhance anchorage processes and protect/retrieve vessels. For more information about how PortVision can help improve your marine operations, download our Ports Case Study.

PortVision 360 AIS Vessel Tracking

Posted on Jul 28, 2016 6:07:00 AM

Topics: News, ports, Container, Shipping