ATLANTA — Business was down at the Port of Savannah last month, with total containerized cargo dropping by 55,000 twenty-foot equivalent units compared to January of last year.
The decrease in TEUs was fueled in part by a reduction in orders from retailers and manufacturers, which caused a 16% decline in imports. Weather was also a factor, delaying six vessels that had been scheduled to call at Savannah late last month.
Exports were a bright spot for the port. Loaded container exports from Savannah grew 21% last month compared to January of last year. The port handled 110,305 TEUs for export in January, an increase of 19,419 TEUs.
“We’re excited to support a strong month for American farms and factories at the Port of Savannah,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “We achieved particularly robust growth last month in export trade lanes to Europe and the Mediterranean.”
The jump in exports from the Port of Savannah came as Gov. Brian Kemp was announcing that Georgia achieved a record-breaking year for international trade in 2022 for the second year in a row. The state’s total trade last year exceeded $196 billion across 221 countries and territories.
That showing included more than $47 billion in exports in 2022, breaking the previous record by nearly $5 billion and representing an 11% increase over the previous year.
Joel Wooten, the ports authority’s board chairman, said the authority is using the current reduction in traffic to make significant progress on infrastructure projects that will be needed as demand returns.
“Being prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arise requires steady leadership and an eye toward long-term trends,” Wooten said. “Our board’s commitment to constant infrastructure improvement, even during down times, means our customers have a ready partner in growth when they need to expand their Georgia operations.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.