Container traffic at the Port of Savannah eased off in November as a result of lingering inflation and a post-covid shift in consumer spending, the Georgia Ports Authority said today.
Those economic conditions caused a reduction in manufacturing and subsequent container demand. The Georgia Ports Authority moved 464,883 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in November, a decrease of 6.2% compared to the same month last year. Despite the drop, the Port of Savannah’s performance constitutes an increase of 28% over three years (compared to November 2019). That rate of growth is well above GPA’s pre-pandemic expansion, which averaged 4% to 5% annually.
“Container trade at U.S. ports is returning to a more sustainable growth pattern, which is a positive development for the logistics industry” GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch said in a release. “Along with the addition of more than 1 million TEUs of annual capacity, a slight reduction in demand will mean faster vessel service as we work to bring a new big ship berth online at Garden City Terminal in July.”
That moderation in volume will help the port to catch its breath after the breathless pace of the pandemic years. The current lull has allowed Savannah to reduce its vessel queue to 17 container ships, down 43% from Nov. 1, when there were 30 vessels at anchor. GPA now expects to clear the backlog entirely by early January.
The trend is in line with an industry-wide move to moderate logistics activity from pandemic-era highs, driven by a winding down of inventories, according to the latest monthly Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI). And several forecasts for multiple transportation modes call for those conditions to continue into 2023.