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Georgia Ports Authority reports busiest month for autos, heavy equipment

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(The Center Square) — The Georgia Ports Authority reported its busiest month for autos and heavy equipment in April, partly because of diversions from the Port of Baltimore following a bridge collapse.

On Tuesday, GPA officials said workers handled 80,600 units of Roll-on/Roll-off cargo. That represents an increase of more than 44%, or 24,760 units from a year ago.

“Asian imports remain strong, but we are also seeing an uptick in vehicle exports, new customers have chosen Georgia Ports, and we have increased capacity for existing customers,” GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch said in an announcement. “Additionally, manufacturers are working to raise dealership stocks from the current 14-day inventories to 30 days’ worth of vehicles.”

The 1,700-acre Colonel’s Island Terminal at the Port of Brunswick is the largest auto port in the nation based on terminal space. Officials said several factors are leading to the terminal’s growth, including diversions from the Port of Baltimore and organic growth.

Roughly 9,000 imported vehicles were diverted to Brunswick, and another 1,000 high/heavy equipment units were diverted. Heavy machinery exports were up by 500 units compared to GPA’s monthly average of 246 units for fiscal 2024.

For the first three quarters of fiscal 2024, between July 1, 2023, and March 31, GPA averaged 69,880 Ro/Ro units per month. For the fiscal year-to-date through April, the Port of Brunswick has moved a record 709,545 autos and machinery units, an increase of 19% over last year.

“We are expecting the impact of diverted cargo to taper off in June, as the Port of Baltimore works to fully restore service,” Lynch added.

Meanwhile, the Port of Savannah moved 441,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units in April. It marked an 8% increase, or more than 32,000 TEUs, from last year and was GPA’s third busiest April after 2021 and 2022.