The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA)’s Port of Brunswick saw a big jump in automotive and machinery volumes for the month of September, reporting a 61% increase to 70,645 units of roll-on/roll-off cargo at its Colonel’s Island Terminal.
Ports leaders said the numbers point to growth related both to added customers and to increased volumes from existing port users. They cited two examples, including the shipping line CMA-CGM starting a new short-sea service carrying vehicles from Mexico to the Port of Brunswick in July, and the Gold Star shipping line which starts a similar Mexico-to-Brunswick route in November.
The rate of increase is also a sign of recovery from a pandemic-related shortage of computer chips that had stymied auto production. “The automotive sector has been especially strong and consumer demand is driving this trend. Our investments in infrastructure capacity are well-timed to support the growing business in our Brunswick gateway,” Georgia Ports President and CEO Griff Lynch said in a release.
To handle the growing load, the Port of Brunswick is undergoing improvements totaling more than $262 million. Expansions include a total of 640,000 square feet of auto and machinery processing space across five new buildings, including 350,000 square feet of near-dock warehousing that is now complete. GPA is also developing another 122 acres of roll-on/roll-off cargo storage space.
Those expansion plans are part of a long-term plan by GPA to make the Port of Brunswick the top auto and machinery port in the U.S., Lynch said on October 30.
Sharing statistics, GPA said its Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick grew ro/ro volumes by 18% in fiscal year 2023, to more than 705,000 units of autos and heavy machinery, moving both into and out of the port. (Including Ocean Terminal in Savannah’s ro/ro volumes, GPA handled a record 723,515 units during this time period.) The Port of Brunswick served 610 vessel calls in FY2023, representing an increase of 11 percent over the year prior. Colonel’s Island handled 495 of those ships.