Q2 Freight Market Outlook: Port of Savannah Expansion Continues, Eastern Ports Ready for Disruption

Posted by Port City Logistics on Apr 28, 2022 2:39:54 PM

Nearly a month into the second quarter of 2022, the Savannah Port is continuing to prove itself as the self-proclaimed “single largest and fastest-growing container terminal in America.” As of April 25, the Georgia Ports’ 15-day port of Savannah tracking system showcased 46 ships waiting to berth with turnaround times ranging from 15 to 47 hours. The port of Savannah vessel schedule lists ships originating from countries and businesses around the globe, something that experts believe will continue in the coming years as global trade continues to grow and evolve.

Demand Continues to Increase

When Southern California’s primary port experienced vessel delays of two weeks or longer in 2021, the world sought alternative entry points into the United States. With 360 ports to choose from, more vessels were rerouted to ports in the Southeast than any other region. Although the ships stuck at port in Los Angeles and Long Beach have minimized to a level near Savannah’s backlog stats, current Chinese factory shutdowns will likely have a ripple impact on future vessel overflow filled with delayed products. Before these latest shutdowns, many shippers were already considering moving to new ports permanently with alternative drayage fulfillment strategies to minimize freight delays.

The anticipated growth data revealed by port of Savannah tracking has guided many permanent changes to the southeastern port. Savannah Now reported that the Georgia Port Authority (GPA) “is charting a course to expand container capacity by 60% in three years, and announced long-term goals of building out terminals on Hutchinson Island and across the river in Jasper County, South Carolina. Gov. Brian Kemp was on-hand to offer remarks about the GPA's record volume since 2019, but said longer-term plans will take a back-burner to immediate needs, like expanding storage capacity and finding more truck drivers to alleviate labor shortages.”

This port expansion will not detract from the cross-docking, pop-up yards, and other first-mile drayage options that already contribute a favorable outlook to the port of Savannah vessel schedule

Additional Investments Will Help to Increase TEUs to 9.5 M by 2025

With the port of Savannah backlog still in the rearview mirror, the Georgia Ports Authority is hopeful their investment efforts will expand the current annual capacity of 6 million TEU to 50 million TEU by 2050. Yet as mentioned earlier, current yard, river, and dock advancements are predominantly focused on expanding the port of Savannah vessel schedule openings in the near future. 

New Ship-to-Shore Cranes Will Make It Easier to Load/Unload Vessels

Looking back to January, the backlog at the Port of Savannah had been in the news and was finally cleared with planned upgrades, as noted in a prior blog. It’s easy to assume that all delays come from a limitation of available cranes, but it comes from a confluence of circumstances resulting in bottlenecks. There is also a risk of a future port of Savannah backlog, and the ability to unload a container ship depends on continuous investment in the port. Specifically, seven new cranes will make a significant difference and amplify the volume moved from ships at berth. Despite the variety in reported average crane moves ranging from 14 to 60 moves per hour, the equipment addition wil reduce risk for a port of Savannah tracking and stir further investment in port drayage tech.

SHEP Will Help Alleviate Worries Over “Snagged Vessels,” Access More Inland Areas.

Among the most significant contributions to the future expanding port of Savannah vessel schedule is the very recent completion of the harbor deepening. With twenty years of research behind it, this harbor modification will allow safe passage for international and domestic vessels larger than Georgia ports have ever seen. The continued improvement of access to more inland areas will continue to be monitored by Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) to protect avian and sturgeon populations, as well as overall water quality, without sacrificing port freight activity. 

Uncertainty Over Blanked Sailings Will Make Planning Critical. 

On April 22, 2022, The Loadstar reported, “The 2M alliance is preparing to blank three Asia-North Europe sailings next month, as export demand from China plummets and container spot rates come under increased pressure.” This drastic measure is said to be met with accommodating services for those who had already booked with the voyages. Yet it strikes a chord with all international shippers and BCOs who already deal with uncertain timelines. Diversifying procurement can only go so far when also considering the installment of clean truck fund rate fees at certain ports. 

While this may temporarily lessen the capacity crunch, it will cause a new backlog chain reaction that can be hard to navigate and avoid excess dwell charges. In this opportune time, it’s more important than ever for shippers to take advantage of the port of Savannah vessel schedule openings to build relationships with carriers and logistics providers to ensure they get their freight when they need it.

Stay Ready for Freight Market Uncertainty Around the Port of Savannah Vessel Schedule by Partnering With Port City Logistics.

As every separate investment and consideration come together to stretch the port of Savannah vessel schedule, the southeastern port is strengthening its ability to withstand future supply chain disruption. Shippers, BCOs, and NVOCCs are taking note and finding out why “Georgia on My Mind” is more than just a classic love song; it’s a way of survival in a shaking supply chain. Although utilizing this port may be new to you, it isn’t to the experts at Port City Logistics. With a perspective that only a local can give, Port City Logistics is the perfect logistics fit for everything from port of Savannah tracking to local warehousing solutions. To let an expert walk you through improving your supply chain visibility, efficiency and resiliency through Savannah, contact Port City Logistics today.

Topics: Port of Savannah