The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) in the US has sanctioned nearly $205m to expand the container capacity of Port of Savannah by 20%.

The board approved a terminal development project, called Peak Capacity, which will create 2,100 new grounded container slots.

The Peak Capacity project will witness the addition of 650,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU) of annual container yard capacity.

This project will be implemented in two phases, with the first phase commencing in September.

GPA executive director Griff Lynch said: “Right now, we are moving container volumes that we did not expect to see for another four years. Our employees are working very hard to ensure we continue to provide our customers with world-class service. Additionally, we are expediting capacity projects that will increase the speed and fluidity of cargo handling at the Port of Savannah.”

GPA board chairman Will McKnight said: “Georgia’s container trade has experienced unprecedented growth over the past six months. This addition is among several that will address the needs of port users experiencing a sharp increase in demand, while also preparing Savannah to take on additional business over the long term.”

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The board has also given its approval for the renovation and expansion of Garden City Terminal’s Berth 1.

The renovation is expected to increase the berth capacity by around one million TEUs per year by June 2023, increasing the terminal’s annual berth capacity to six million TEUs.

The board also approved the procurement of 20 new rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes.

The new RTGs will provide additional capacity in the same terminal footprint by standing over more containers than the older cranes.

In February, the expanded container operation at Savannah’s Ocean Terminal (OT) came online, taking its annual capacity to 250,000 TEUs.

McKnight added: “The new capacity at OT will ensure our shipping line customers see no service delays while GPA is straightening Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal. In light of unprecedented demand, we’re taking advantage of every opportunity to grow capacity at our deepwater terminals.”

Furthermore, GPA obtained a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers for the development of a fourth berth for Ro/Ro cargo at Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick.

The project, which is in the engineering phase, will offer augmented speed and flexibility in autoprocessing.

Meanwhile, GPA stated that the deepening of the Savannah harbour, a Corps of Engineers project, is progressing and will be substantially completed by the end of the year.