Freight News, Sea

GPA elects officers for FY2021

[ June 25, 2020   //   ]

At its meeting on June 15, the Georgia Ports Authority board elected officers for the coming fiscal year, selecting Will McKnight to serve a second year as chairman.

GPA Secretary-Treasurer Joel Wooten, Jr. was elected vice chairman and member Kent Fountain was elected secretary-treasurer.

McKnight thanked the GPA team for keeping the operation moving throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and for pushing forward on critical infrastructure projects that will be necessary to add capacity and new services as the economy reopens.

“Our ports and the logistics industry we serve are playing an integral role in moving the goods necessary to get America back to work,” said McKnight. “Our team has done a tremendous job keeping our ports active and working safe and smart throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The dedicated men and women across the ports and supply chain have once again proven that Georgia has the best team on the ground.”

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the GPA remained open for business, implementing strategic safety practices to protect the workers and port users facilitating global commerce. Georgia export commodities from peanuts and forest products to kaolin and poultry have continued to reach their markets on time and in some cases achieving year-over-year increases in trade.

In container traffic, the GPA achieved a better than expected May. In total cargo, the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal moved 337,359 TEUs in May, a decrease of 9.7 percent or 36,000 TEUs compared to the same month a year ago.

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch credited an unshaken commitment to customer service for the better-than-expected performance. “I would like to thank our GPA employees, members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, motor carriers, rail and all our supply chain partners for their dedication,” Lynch said. “Their efforts, along with Savannah’s strong export commodities and record cargo moved by the Appalachian Regional Port are all contributing factors to our performance.”

The Appalachian Regional Port handled 2,856 containers of import and export commodities, an increase of 99 percent or 1,420 container lifts compared to the same month a year ago. Lynch credited the increase with shipping lines recognizing the inland port as an official container yard and routing more cargo through the facility.

Gov. Kemp recently announced that Huali Floors, a leading manufacturer of resilient flooring, will establish its first U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Murray County. Creating 315 new jobs and investing more than $27 million in an existing facility, Huali Floors is the second ARP customer to announce a major development. GE Appliances opened a 500,000 square foot distribution center in March serving a multi-state region via the Northwest Georgia facility.

For the fiscal year to date, GPA’s container trade is slightly behind its FYTD2019 performance, at 4.1 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, a decrease of 18,670 or 0.5 percent. Total cargo for the period from July 2019 through May 2020 reached 34.7 million tons, an increase of nearly 350,000 or 1 percent.

“While our deepwater terminals have seen challenges related to COVID-19, our long-term outlook remains positive as we focus on the fundamentals of serving our customers,” Lynch said. “The resiliency of Georgia’s ports is inherent in the underlying value and efficiency of our terminals and network connections.”