FOLLOWING months of a continuous backlog of containerships waiting for berth space, the Port of Savannah is projecting that moderating demand will finally permit the port to clear the congestion before the end of 2022.
Contributing to the congestion was a nearly 10 per cent growth in container volumes over the past three months driven by the strong demand while hundreds of thousands of more containers remained stranded for days offshore.
Georgia Ports Authority executive director Griff Lynch said: "A high number of ad hoc vessel calls, the addition of three new Mediterranean services, and one new service to Asia contributed to the growth.
"Additionally, our regular services have been arriving with significantly more cargo destined for Savannah."
Mr Lynch said the average vessel exchange grew from 3,500 TEU per ship this time last year, to 4,500 TEU across the past three months, reports The Maritime Executive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida .
The Port of Savannah handled 776,067 TEU of loaded and empty exports between July and September, while import trade totalled 766,525 TEU. Loaded containers represented 70 per cent of the total container trade.
During the three months, the Georgia Ports Authority handled a total of more than 1.5 million TEU. That represented an increase of 135,000 TEU, or 9.6 per cent over the same period last year.
They further highlighted that the increase was achieved despite a nearly three-day suspension of vessel service related to Hurricane Ian in September and the broader impact on September volumes at the Port of Savannah due to the storm.
"While we have seen powerful growth across the first quarter, we are beginning to see signs of correction in the market," Mr Lynch said, noting that September container volumes were off by 7.6 per cent compared to the same month last year, at 436,279 TEU.
Analysts attributed some of the surge in volumes along the US East Coast starting in July due to the ongoing labour negotiations for the West Coast ports. Carriers and shippers were believed to be diverting volumes to avoid potential disruptions. Previously they had begun sending containers to East Coast and other ports to route around the congestion that had developed primarily at the San Pedro Bay ports in California.
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