Infrastructure improvements make handling high and heavy cargo more efficient

The Georgia Ports Authority board approved project funding to increase capacity, efficiency and flexibility in heavy machinery exports.

“This project will provide greater capacity in moving oversized roll-on/roll-off cargo at Ocean Terminal,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “It will yield better efficiency, and lower long-term maintenance costs by providing a more durable surface for moving and staging these heavy cargos.”

The board approved $2 million at the Nov. 19 meeting for a total of just under $5 million dedicated recently to high density paving at the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal.
The improved surface employs Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC), which is conducive to the heavy traffic and loads endured by paved surfaces in a shipping terminal. Unlike traditional concrete, RCC is relatively dry when poured.

Using RCC reduced the cost of the project and the amount of natural resources required, as well as offering a slightly faster cure time.
The additional funding will expand outdoor paved areas to improve sorting and storage of cargo handled at Ocean Terminal. The work includes expanding and improving the cargo pressure washing area, and cargo staging areas to support outside stored cargo.

These improvements follow similar infrastructure projects at GPA’s Colonel’s Island Facility in Brunswick, where roadways, bridges and staging areas were also strengthened to accommodate additional tracked and heavy equipment.

In the last four years the volume of Ro/Ro cargo moved though Georgia’s deepwater ports, including Savannah’s Ocean Terminal and Brunswick’s Colonel’s Island, has nearly doubled from 293,265 in FY2009 to 569,984 in FY2012.

Foltz said machinery exports are set to expand in the wake of Governor Nathan Deal’s February announcement of a 1,400-job Caterpillar manufacturing facility near Athens. The factory will build small track-type tractors and mini hydraulic excavators. Proximity to the state’s ports factored into the company’s decision to bring those jobs to Georgia, Foltz added.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah was the second busiest U.S. container port for the export of American goods by tonnage in FY2011. It also handled 8.7 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 12.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2011.

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