Savannah Port Freight Volumes Continue to Increase for 3PL’s
Savannah Port – Among shippers and 3PL companies, Savannah is fast becoming the port of choice. The Garden City Terminal in this Georgia coastal city, already the third-largest and fastest-growing container port in the U.S., continues to expand.
Savannah – The Ultimate Port for Shippers and 3PL’s?
The Savannah Port’s recent volumes have been steadily increasing. The number of containers grew 14 % in February 2015, doubled to 28 % a month later in March, and jumped 25.8 % in April, with a total volume of 335,337 twenty-foot equivalent container units, or an additional 69,000 units. The Georgia Ports Authority also saw strong growth in roll-on/roll-off traffic, moving 77,574 units through Brunswick and Savannah, a 14.1 % gain.
Among its competitors, the Savannah Port is fast emerging as a leading gateway for freight shipments. Savannah trails only New York City as an East Coast container port and ranks No. 3 nationally after Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, according to Datamyne data compiled by Bloomberg.
Shippers are switching to this Georgia port for a number of reasons. High on the list of problems with Southern California ports is its strike-prone labor pool, its uncertainty, and bottlenecked connections to important highways and rail stations.
Strikes have become one of the major problems for the busy twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle 43 % of containerized goods entering the US. An acrimonious labor contract dispute between shipping companies and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union was finally settled in February 2015 but in April 2015 another strike began among West Coast port truckers.
These crippling strikes follow on the heels of others in previous years at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, in which the nation’s busiest port complex was shut down and cargo ships idled in the harbor or headed elsewhere, accounting for the loss of over $1 million per month for many companies.
The Savannah Port, on the other hand, has been unhampered by strikes, congestion, or the inability of trucking fleets to unload products. Shippers across the country have taken note of Savannah’s efficiencies and abilities to handle the extra load.
NRS has estimated that an efficient port such as Savannah only has a 30 minute pick up wait for containers versus five hours in LA/Long Beach. Increased volumes at the Savannah Port has led to increase in demand for 3PL services such as drayage, deconsolidation, transload, distribution, and DC bypass.
The logistics industry has taken notice of Savannah as it continues to handle a massive influx of cargo without becoming mired in congestion. Truck turn times for a single-container move take about 30 minutes and combined import/export moves are being completed in less than an hour.
To make itself more appealing to shippers and 3PL firms, Savannah has been investing in its infrastructure for decades, making much needed improvements, and helping the Georgia Ports to maintain a strong operation as well as keeping it ahead of its competition. A $700 million deepening project is now underway.
Twenty-two ship-to-shore cranes and nearly 10,000 contiguous feet of first-come, first-served dock space allow scheduling flexibility for super-sized vessels. A 1,200-acre container yard — the largest single-operator terminal in North America — gives GPA enough room and flexibility to handle influxes of cargo.
Once it has arrived, cargo easily flows to highways and railroads with the help of 116 rubber tired gantry cranes. New projects provide quick access to Interstate highways 95 and 16 for trucks.
The unmatched reliability of the Savannah Port has cargo owners requesting additional shipping capacity to serve the Garden City container terminal. Shipping lines have responded by lining up six new services, which will all start their rotations by mid-June 2015.
These include the G6 Alliance originating in Bremerhaven, Germany, and calling on Savannah and New York on the East Coast; Maersk service will begin from Qingdao in China, calling on the Savannah Port, Charleston and Miami on the East Coast; the CKYHE Alliance will originate in Pusan, North Korea, and visit U.S. ports of Charleston and Savannah; the Alliance Ocean 3 plus the Hamburg Sud will rotate from Qingdao through more than a dozen ports, including two calls each on Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk and New York; the Alliance Ocean 3 will also start the Manhattan Bridge Service, starting in Qingao and rotating through Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk and New York.; and Zim will begin the Seven Star Express service, beginning in the Chinese port of Yantian and including New York, Norfolk and Savannah.
What makes this so notable? Because the Savannah Port will be the only the East Coast to host all six new services, giving Garden City Terminal a total of 37 shipping services and resulting in more than 300 new ship calls a year, one of the most substantial all-at-once boosts the port has had in years.
The Savannah Port is also blessed by its geographic location—near population density and huge volumes of agricultural exports.
Even work on the Panama Canal will make it more appealing to choose Savannah over its West Coast competition. An expansion of the of the canal’s locks is due for completion late next year allowing larger ships to head directly to the Savannah Port.
Already, Savannah is seeing 11 ships a week bringing cargo to its port that travel from Singapore westward through the Suez Canal. Normally these ships would head eastward and land on the West Coast but due to more capacity in larger ships, they have found a competitive and economic reason to travel the new route to Savannah.
“The Port of Savannah is growing rapidly as it has become a port of choice for logistics operations,” says an inaugural edition of North America Port Logistics, put out by Fortune 500 realty company CBRE Group Inc., adding that Savannah has the lowest occupancy costs and highest shipping volume by market size in North America.
The Savannah Port has created a highly appealing operational environment for 3PL logistics firms. Its services and efficiencies, its abundance of land for industrial development, and its healthy management/labor relationship are providing increased growth
Even as West Coast port operations return to normal after the strikes, more shippers have learned to trust the Savannah Port with their freight.
The Ultimate 3PL
National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) includes Keystone Freight Corp. & National Retail Transportation, Inc. (NRT). NRS is an asset based 3PL that has been providing logistics services for the World’s leading retail companies for 60+ years. Our hub locations include: New York & New Jersey; Los Angeles, CA; Inland Empire, CA; Savannah, GA; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; and Baltimore, MD.