The Georgia Ports Authority achieved its busiest month ever for containerized trade in August, handling 437,750 twenty-foot equivalent container units. At the GPA Board meeting, Executive Director Griff Lynch reported August volumes grew by 62,000 TEUs, or 16.5 percent compared to the same month last year.
“We’re seeing an early and strong start to peak season at the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “In addition to expanding trade on our regular weekly services, shipping lines are adding calls by sweeper ships to meet rising demand.”
In August, GPA handled eight extra ships over its regular 37 weekly vessel calls, adding nearly 20,000 TEUs to the month’s volume. Lynch noted increased business through the Port of Savannah is driving private investment, but the industrial vacancy rate remains low. Of structures offering 100,000 square feet or more, the vacancy rate is 1.42 percent.
“At GPA, we’re making a call to action for private developers to enter or expand in this very active market,” said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight. “Within a 30-mile radius of the Port of Savannah, there are more than 20,000 acres of industrial park space ready for development.”
Over the past two years, property that the Georgia Ports Authority put on the market within its Savannah River International Trade Park has been developed, adding 5 million square feet of distribution space for companies such as Shaw, Safavia, Wayfair and others. At its September meeting, the GPA Board approved $3.75 million in road improvement projects to avoid truck congestion at the trade park.
New construction in Fiscal Year 2019 added 10.7 million square feet of industrial space across the Savannah market, for a total of 67.7 million square feet. Thanks to the fastest net absorption as a percent of inventory in the nation, most of that new construction has already been occupied, according to Colliers International.
In April, California-based Plastic Express, in conjunction with Capital Development Partners, announced plans to invest $172 million in a new 2.4 million square-foot Savannah facility. The first phase of the rail-served location is scheduled to open for operation in November.