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The Southeast Is A Growing Market in the Transportation Industry that can be your best friend if you contact BIG ED ASAP!  


The ports of Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville have seen significant growth. Container volumes at the Port of Savannah rose 4.4 percent in August from the same period in 2014, an indication that the blistering pace of 10 to 27 percent year-over-year growth rates experienced in previous months could moderate as shippers return to the west coast.Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, reported that he is pleasantly surprised that Savannah has been able to retain that level of growth as container volume of 16.6 percent during the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2014. BIG ED, of Burns Logistics Solutions, Inc. says that there’s ample opportunity in the Southeast. And recent statistics back that up.  


The surge in container volume earlier in 2015 occurred partly due to West Coast Port congestion during the prolonged contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Pacific Maritime Association. The five-year longshore contract was approved in May and port congestion slowly dissipated thereafter.   Savannah’s investments in transportation and port infrastructure prepared the port to handle the increased volumes. “The authority’s policy of continuous reinvestment in port infrastructure has allowed Georgia’s deepwater ports to accommodate unprecedented freight expansion, Foltz said to the board. Continued cargo growth and the anticipated arrival of even larger ships indicate that ongoing investment in port infrastructure is paramount.  


Growth in imports, for the U.S. ports as a whole, in the mid-single digits has become the norm in recent years. Imports are driving most of the U.S. port growth in 2015. Exports are languishing due to the strong dollar, which, in turn makes exports more costly overseas, and weak growth in the economies of major trading partners in Europe and Asia.   Traffic flows in the trans-Pacific import trade from Asia appear to be normalizing. In recent years, East Coast ports have performed better than West Coast ports in the spring and summer months as retailers took advantage of lower all-inclusive rates on all-water services from Asia. As the peak holiday-shipping season kicked-in during the late summer and fall, retailers shifted more of their higher-value, time-sensitive shipments to the West Coast. All-inclusive rates through West Coast ports, including intermodal rail charges, are higher, but retailers pay the extra cost to save a week to 10 days on transit times.  


Even if shipping patterns in the trans-Pacific normalize in the coming year, East Coast ports can expect another increase in container volume next spring when the Panama Canal expansion project will be completed. Eventually, vessels with capacities of about 13,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units–about two and one-half times the current canal limitations-will be deployed on all-water services from Asia.   Savannah is already handling post-Panamex vessels of 5,500-10,000-TEU capacity, on its all-water services from Asia via the Suez route. Savannah has a total of 38 weekly all-water services through the two-canals. Although Foltz expects the behemoth vessel, via the Panama route will settle in at about 8,500-TEU capacity when the canal expansion project is completed next year, preliminary modeling of the Savannah River indicates that the port will be able to accommodate vessels in the 14,000-TEU range.  


Savannah’s ports are analogous to one large container terminal with multiple berths served by 22 ship-to shore cranes. This configuration allows operators to move as many cranes as are needed to work the largest ships. Foltz told the port’s board of commissioners that Savannah is preparing its physical plant for the anticipated growth in cargo volumes. “Constant improvement in equipment and services helps Savannah maintain its position as the leading gateway to trade for the U.S. Southeast.” Savannah’s $763 million project, which will deepen the port’s harbor from 42 to 47 feet, is estimated to be completed by 2018. The deepening of the harbor will allow Savannah to handle the larger vessels able to traverse the expanded Panama Canal, when it opens in mid-2016. Also of note, The Port of Charleston received the federal go-ahead, on September 14 of year, to start its own $521 million deepening project. The port will deepen its harbor to 52 feet and entrance channel to 54 feet by the end of the decade. Presently Jacksonville is also following suit in trying to garner the funds needed to convince the port’s TraPac terminal to relocate to Blount Island, saving between $150 and $200 million on a critical dredging project that will deepen its channel from 40 to 47 feet.