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Georgia Ports Auto Volumes Up 44 Percent in April

May 21, 2024
Source: Georgia Ports Authority

Colonel’s Island Terminal at the Port of Brunswick handles a mix of autos, construction and farm equipment. At 1,700 acres, it is the largest autoport in the nation by terminal space. For the fiscal year-to- date through April, the Port of Brunswick has moved a record 709,545 units of autos and machinery, an increase of 19 percent over the previous year. Find print-quality images here. (Georgia Ports)

GPA Board re-elects officers

May 21, 2024 – In its busiest month ever for autos and heavy equipment, the Georgia Ports Authority handled a record 80,600 units of Roll-on/Roll-off cargo in April, an increase of more than 44 percent, or 24,760 units, compared to the same month last year, according to a report to the GPA Board.

Also at the May 21 meeting, Board members re-elected Chairman Kent Fountain, Vice Chairman Alec Poitevint and Secretary-Treasurer Chris Womack to a second term in those positions. The officers were first elected in 2023. Their new terms start July 1.

“I want to thank Kent, Alec, and Chris, as well as the entire team at GPA, for their leadership in making our ports an incredible driver of economic opportunity,” said Gov. Brian Kemp. “Thanks to their efforts, Georgia’s ports have navigated recent challenges in global trade while continuing to outpace the competition.”

GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch said several factors are leading to growth at the Port of Brunswick.

“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,” Lynch reported at the GPA board meeting. “Additionally, manufacturers are working to raise dealership stocks from the current 14-day inventories to 30 days’ worth of vehicles.”

In addition to organic growth, diversions from the Port of Baltimore increased volumes at Colonel’s Island Terminal. Approximately 9,000 import vehicles were diverted to Brunswick, as well as another 1,000 units of high/heavy equipment. Heavy machinery exports were up by 500 units compared to GPA’s monthly average of 246 units for fiscal year 2024. “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.

For the first three quarters of FY2024 (July 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024), GPA averaged 69,880 units per month in total Ro/Ro.

April Container Volumes

In container trade, the Port of Savannah moved 441,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units in April, an increase of 8 percent, or more than 32,000 TEUs compared to the same month last year. It was GPA’s third busiest April on record after 2021 and 2022.

“The teamwork among our GPA employees, ILA locals, stevedores and others delivers the world-class service that cargo owners have come to expect from Georgia Ports,” said GPA Board Chairman Kent Fountain. “The unmatched efficiency at the ports of Brunswick and Savannah is one reason Georgia has been chosen as the best state to do business for ten years in a row.”  

Import loads reached 211,900 TEUs, up 8.3 percent or 16,200 TEUs compared to April 2023. Export loads accounted for 122,500 TEUs last month, an increase of 4,235 TEUs or 3.6 percent.

BOARD OFFICER BIOS

Kent Fountain serves as the President & CEO of Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. in Surrency.  Fountain attended the University of Georgia where he obtained a degree in Agricultural Economics.  In 1995, Fountain began Southeastern Gin, Inc. and in 2004 built a peanut buying point, and the firm became Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Inc. In 2015, Fountain was instrumental in starting Premium Peanut, LLC, where he currently serves as Chairman.  The recipient of numerous awards, Fountain received the Southeastern Ginner of the Year award in 2001 and the Horace Hayden National Ginner of the Year award in 2016.  He and his wife, Missi, live in Screven and have two sons attending the University of Georgia.

Alec Poitevint is the chairman and president of Southeastern Minerals, Inc. and its affiliated companies headquartered in Bainbridge. Poitevint is a past chairman of Georgia Ports Authority, having previously served the Authority from 2007-2016.  He is also a  former president, vice-chairman and director of First Port City Bank of Bainbridge. He is past chairman of the American Feed Industry Association and National Feed Ingredients Association.  He serves as a director of the Georgia Agribusiness Council and was Federal Commissioner of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Water Compact.  Poitevint was a former mission member of the U.S. Agricultural Trade and Development Mission to Europe in 1990 and U.S. Delegate to the World Food Summit in 2002.

Chris Womack is the president and CEO-elect of Southern Company, one of the nation’s leading energy providers serving 9 million customers. Prior to his current role, since 2021 he served as chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, leading Southern Company’s largest subsidiary. He assumed leadership of Georgia Power after serving as executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company where he led overall external positioning and branding efforts including the company’s public policy strategies and oversaw the company’s governmental and regulatory affairs, corporate communication initiatives and other external and strategic business engagements.  Prior to joining Southern Company, Womack worked on Capitol Hill for the U.S. House of Representatives. He is co-chair of the Edison Electric Institute Customer Solutions Policy Committee and a member of the board of directors of Invesco Ltd.

About Georgia Ports

Georgia’s ports and inland terminals support more than 561,000 jobs throughout the state annually, contributing $33 billion in income, $140 billion in revenue and $3.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. GPA anticipates investing $4.5 billion in the next ten years as part of its port master plan to expand cargo handling capabilities to support future supply chain requirements. As part of GPA’s community engagement efforts, $6 million will be donated to communities located near the Port of Savannah to support a multi-year, local workforce housing initiative. CNBC ranked Georgia #1 in the U.S. for infrastructure in America’s Top States for Business in 2023.   Area Development  – a site selection news outlet for the U.S., has ranked Georgia as the Top State to Do Business for ten consecutive years. For further information, visit gaports.com or contact Tom Boyd at tboyd@gaports.com 912-964-3884.


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