Friday November 27th, 2015 1:29AM

Ga. ports on track to smash cargo records this year

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia's seaports are on track to finish the 2014 fiscal year with record cargo volumes as third-quarter numbers show big growth capped by the ports' busiest month ever in terms of total tonnage being shipped to and from the docks.

The Georgia Ports Authority says it handled 21.8 million tons of imports and exports during the first nine months of the fiscal year that started July 1, a pace that's 8.4 percent ahead of the same period in 2013. That includes 2.61 million tons of cargo that moved through the state's ports at Savannah and Brunswick in March. It's the most weight the ports have ever seen in a single month.

The numbers put Georgia's ports in close reach of the record 27.23 million tons they handled in the last fiscal year. Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said he's confident that record, and others, will be surpassed when the current fiscal year ends June 30.

"There's no question in my mind we'll finish the fiscal year with records in overall tonnage, containers and automobile volume," Foltz said.

Cargo containers packed with everything from retail electronics to frozen chickens have made Savannah one of the nation's busiest ports. Since 2006, Savannah has moved more containerized cargo than any U.S. port other than New York, Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif.

Georgia port officials say Savannah handled 2.31 million containers of imports and exports during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, up 6.8 percent from the same period a year ago. Foltz said he's certain the Port of Savannah for the first time will reach a milestone 3 million containers in 2014. It was just eight years ago that Savannah surpassed 2 million containers and vaulted past Charleston, S.C., to become the fourth-busiest U.S. container port.

Also on target for a record-smashing 2014 are the number of cars, trucks and tractors being loaded and unloaded at Georgia ports. More than 503,000 units of such roll-on, roll-off cargo - from Subaru station wagons to Caterpillar tractors - have moved through the ports so far this fiscal year. That's an increase of 7.4 percent compared to the first nine months of fiscal 2013, putting Georgia in position to break last year's record of 636,942 auto and machinery units.

The growth is being fueled by automakers shipping increasing volumes of cars into Brunswick, now the No. 3 U.S. port for auto imports, to fill dealer inventories across the Southeast.

Foltz said rising consumer demand and other upward economic trends in the U.S. and abroad helped push Georgia's port growth to unexpected levels so far in 2014. He said March isn't typically a month that port officials would expect to set record volumes, considering container traffic tends to peak in the fall months before the holidays, but was bolstered by strong trade across-the-board in containers, autos and bulk goods such as corn and wood pellets.

"These volumes have surprised us," Foltz said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you this is the kind of growth we expected."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 10 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 10 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 10 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 3 hours ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 6 days ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 1 week ago )
Rash of E. coli cases in Pacific Northwest highlights problem of foodborne illnesses
SEATTLE (AP) — As Chipotle prepares to reopen its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest this week after an E. coli outbreak that sickened about 45 people, health experts say foodborne illnesses are mor...
1:40AM ( 2 weeks ago )