Georgia Ports

Booming Savannah Port Sees Trade Tensions as Just a Hiccup

Savannah has bet heavily on attracting a hefty share of the supersize container ships routed through the enlarged Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. Dustin Chambers for The New York Times).

Savannah has bet heavily on attracting a hefty share of the supersize container ships routed through the enlarged Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. Dustin Chambers for The New York Times).

(As published by The New York Times by Patricia Cohen and Natalie Kitroeff) SAVANNAH, Ga. — Savannah’s ocean ports feature skyscraping silver cranes that stand at attention on the water’s edge. Container ships stretch the length of four football fields, with 40-foot containers stacked behind them like multicolored Lego bricks.

But an empty patch of freshly bulldozed dirt is the first spot at the sprawling Garden City Terminal that Griffith Lynch, the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, wants to show off.

That is the site of a new $127 million rail depot that will enable double-decker trains as long as the National Mall to be loaded right at the port. It is one piece of a larger vision that Mr. Lynch contends Savannah is uniquely positioned to achieve: Shippers here will be able to deliver goods to Midwestern cities in the time it takes other ports to finish heaving cargo off a boat.

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PortFresh Delivering New Chilled Cargo Logistics Capacity

Brian Kastick, CEO of PortFresh Logistics, said the company has been working for more than two years to meet the need for additional chilled cargo infrastructure in Savannah.

“Currently, more than 90 percent of imported fruits and vegetables entering the U.S. East Coast arrive via Northeast ports,” Kastick said. “That means cargo headed to the Southeast must be trucked down, adding time and expense to the logistics supply chain.”

Thanks to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture program allowing South American citrus fruit, grapes, blueberries and other produce items to enter via the Port of Savannah, substantial cost savings are now available to customers across the Southeast and beyond.

“Using the Port of Savannah offers significant time and money savings per container for areas throughout the Southeast region,” Kastick said. “We believe the growing population of the U.S. Southeast, government policy changes and perishable industry consolidation will break open significant pent-up demand for the new perishable supply chain gateway built around the Port of Savannah.”

PortFresh’s state-of-the-art cold storage facility, on 20 acres of a 182-acre site, is specifically designed to allow multiple climate zones. Engineered to maintain cold chain integrity, the facility ensures delivery of the freshest and safest produce from the port to the customer.

“Our customers have found they are able to move perishable cargoes more efficiently and deliver better quality products to store shelves by using the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “Citrus, avocados, blueberries and other products are already moving through the Port of Savannah, and we hope to grow that portfolio.”

PortFresh handles both import and export cargo. The main building is located right off Interstate 16 on Old River Road in Effingham County, seven miles from Interstate 95 and 15 miles from the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.