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Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Ports & Transportation

Port of Savannah Healthy Despite Economic Downturn

SBJ Staff Report

The annual State of the Ports luncheon, sponsored by The Propeller Club of Savannah, had record attendance last week, with almost 1,000 in attendance at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center for a review of the fiscal year for GPA ended June 30, 2010.
Gov. Sonny Perdue was in attendance, in shirts sleeves because his clothes had been left back in Atlanta, but in high form, summarizing the achievements of GPA this past year and the importance of the ports to Georgia’s overall economy.
In his final Savannah State of the Port Address, Marchand announced that Kia Motors and its part suppliers had selected the Port of Savannah to ship parts and supplies to its plant. The new business will represent an increase of more than 15,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually in the first year of operation, he explained, helping to replace other business that has been lost due the current U.S. economy.
“Doug’s focus and determination to attract cargo to Savannah and his successful implementation of a customer-focused operation have not only set new standards for the shipping and maritime industry, but also helped the GPA attract some of the retail industry’s largest and most dynamic players,” said GPA chairman of the board Steve Green, commenting on the past year.  
Marchand, who announced at the luncheon that he is stepping down as executive director, is credited with developing the beneficial cargo owner or port retail concept in the maritime industry. The strategy increased the number of distribution warehouses in proximity to the Port of Savannah and leveraged the presence of the GPA’s shipping customers to attract international retail customers such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea and others, said Green. Marchand also implemented the industry’s first customer-focused operation protocol.
Marchand also announced that the GPA has positioned itself for future success, by delivering jobs and other economic benefits to the state. “Despite the international slowdown in business, we have increased services and business at our facilities in Savannah,” said Marchand. “Our ability to weather this storm is due in large part to the addition of 12 new or reconfigured services in fiscal year 2009. As the economy begins to turn around and vessels begin loading to capacity, our services will enable us to rebound faster than our peers with a much larger market share.”
Marchand reported that the Port of Savannah handled 2,404,965 TEUs, the second-highest container and tonnage volume in GPA’s history.
Also in FY2009, the Port of Savannah:
• Experienced a 10.7-percent growth in refrigerated cargo, which has increased 85.2 percent during the past five years;
• Posted consistent, balanced trade with loaded export containers totaling 987,339 TEUs (50.8 percent) and loaded import containers totaling 955,759 TEUs (49.2 percent);
• Purchased four super post-Panamax cranes and 15 rubber-tired gantry cranes; and
• Completed the Chatham Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF), making it the only single container facility on the U.S. East Coast with two on-terminal ICTFs.
The Savannah and Brunswick deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,476 jobs throughout the state annually, and contribute $14.9 billion in income, $55.8 billion in revenue and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy.
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