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Auto and Machinery Volumes Surge at Port of Brunswick, Driving Growth in Georgia Ports

The Port of Brunswick experienced a remarkable surge in auto and machinery volumes during September, indicating a robust growth trend in maritime activities. The Colonel’s Island Terminal witnessed a significant uptick, handling 70,645 units of Roll-on/Roll-off cargo. This represents a remarkable 61 percent increase, equivalent to 26,750 units, compared to the same month in the previous year.

Georgia Ports CEO and President, Griff Lynch, attributes this surge to the strength of the automotive sector, fueled by heightened consumer demand. Lynch notes, “Our investments in infrastructure capacity are well-timed to support the growing business in our Brunswick gateway.”

The spike in numbers reflects increased customer acquisition and heightened activity from existing port users. CMA-CGM initiated a new short-sea service transporting vehicles from Mexico to the Port of Brunswick in July, with Gold Star shipping line set to commence a similar Mexico-to-Brunswick route in November. This acceleration in activity also signifies recovery from the pandemic-induced shortage of computer chips that hampered auto production.

In response to the escalating volumes, the Port of Brunswick is currently undergoing comprehensive improvements, totaling over $262 million. The expansion includes the addition of 640,000 square feet of auto and machinery processing space across five new buildings. Among them, 350,000 square feet of near-dock warehousing has already been completed. Additionally, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) is developing an additional 122 acres of Roll-on/Roll-off cargo storage space.

Kent Fountain, GPA Chairman, emphasizes the significance of Brunswick’s port development in the overarching port master plan to become the most connected and competitive auto port. The GPA is executing a two-pillar strategy, aiming to specialize and scale operations for customers by concentrating Roll-on/Roll-off cargo in the Port of Brunswick and container cargo in the Port of Savannah.

In tandem with the auto and machinery growth, containers moved by intermodal rail at the Port of Savannah experienced a robust 8 percent increase in September, amounting to 3,280 containers. Rail containers constituted 20 percent of the total cargo handled by the Georgia Ports Authority during the month.

Despite a 7.6 percent decrease in container volumes compared to the same month last year, last month marked GPA’s busiest September ever outside the pandemic-related spike. Nearly 403,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units of cargo crossed GPA docks, indicating a 9 percent increase compared to September 2019, the most recent year unaffected by the pandemic.

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