June 24--With the end of the fiscal year just a week away, Georgia Ports Authority is poised to pass a number that has just eluded it in the last few years -- 3 million 20-foot containers moved.
GPA executive director Curtis Foltz reported May's container numbers -- less than 10,000 shy of the 300,000 mark -- set an all-time monthly record, as did total tonnage at 2.6 million, both recording double-digit growth.
"This extremely strong and record-setting May is setting the authority up for another record year," Foltz said, adding he expects the trend to continue through the calendar year as well.
"The U.S. economy seems to be continuing its broad-based recovery with ongoing focus on the import retail sector, a growing e-commerce trade and long-term export opportunities," he told the authority board Monday.
"We also anticipate some incremental volume growth associated with cargo diversion from the West Coast as a coast-wide labor contract there expires at the end of the month.
The breakbulk commodity group also grew by double digits in May, with autos, machinery, iron, steel and rubber leading the way at Ocean Terminal and autos, boats and machinery in Brunswick.
"Overall, the auto market remained strong in May, with the third-highest total on record," Foltz said.
The bulk commodity group was down nearly 9 percent for May, primarily due to no dry bulk vessels calling Brunswick during the month, Foltz said. Both the East River facility in Brunswick and Ocean Terminal in Savannah were up more than 11 percent.
Revenue for the month also set a new record at $27.5 million, bringing the year-to-date revenue to $283.1 million.
"Georgia's success in bringing new manufacturers and distribution centers to the state, along with increased demand in the fast-growing Southeast, has fueled impressive growth at the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick," he said.
In other authority business, the board elected James A. "Jim" Walters of Gainesville to serve as chairman, James L. "Jimmy" Allgood as vice chairman and A.J. "Joe" Hopkins III as secretary/treasurer. Board members Jim Lientz and Steve Green, rotated off.
Walters is president of Walters Management Co., a financial services firm that operates in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. He was appointed to the GPA board by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2012 and previously served as vice chairman.
"Jim's background in business and economic development make him a strong choice to lead the GPA," said outgoing chairman Robert Jepson. "His steady demeanor and strong vision for the future will help Georgia Ports continue on its mission to create new jobs and opportunity for Georgia."
Allgood, of Dublin, is chairman of the board of Allgood Pest Solutions, a company he founded in 1974. Hopkins serves as director of Hopkins-Gowen Oil Co. in Folkston and president of Toledo Manufacturing. He is a director of Southeastern Bank and a partner in Gowen Timber Co.
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