Savannah, GA – March 10, 2003

With seven months of unprecedented growth at the Port of Savannah, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) continues to invest tens of millions of dollars to enhance gate and terminal operations. “Our philosophy has been to stay ahead of the growth curve,” said Doug J. Marchand, Executive Director of the GPA. “These new commitments and purchases in both infrastructure and personnel have already begun to show positive results.”

Most recently, the GPA has funded four additional gate clerks between 10 AM and 2 PM every day of the week. The additional clerks were first employed March 3 and the GPA will continue this extra capacity for the foreseeable future. “Last week, the Port of Savannah recorded 21,596 gate moves,” said Marchand. “This tremendous number of gate moves was accomplished with no significant delays at our gates.”

Also last week, two Super Post-Panamax Cranes arrived at the Port of Savannah and will be in operation within 45 days. The cranes, which will be the largest to ever operate in the State of Georgia, represent an $11.6 million investment in new infrastructure for the GPA. “These cranes are 20 percent larger in size and have hoist speeds almost 50 percent faster than existing cranes in service at the Port of Savannah,” said Doug Marchand, Executive Director for the GPA. “These cranes will not only help us move more cargo faster than ever before, but they will allow GPA to continue growing faster than any containerport in the US.”

Two weeks ago, the GPA authorized budgeted expenditures of up to $1.5 million to improve existing container interchange lanes. The improvements will include the installation of automated scales, construction of precheck pedestals, and communications and security systems from the truck lanes to a processing center. Another improvement to traffic flow will be the construction of an internal pedestal that will serve as a help center for truckers within the terminal. “This project will greatly speed the delivery of cargo to and from the terminal as well as improve customer service and security,” said Marchand.

The GPA also recently approved the purchase of six additional Rubber Tired Gantry Cranes. “When these new RTGs come on-line, the Port of Savannah will have a total of 23 RTG cranes which will further enhance operations,” said Marchand.

GPA has hired an additional 100 new field service employees to handle the wave of new growth and improve service. Approximately 90 of the new employees have reported and are already positively impacting terminal operations. With these additional personnel, service times have improved and field supervision has doubled.

“Our growth so far this year has been tremendous,” said Marchand. “For the first seven months of our fiscal year, GPA has attained 34 percent growth for all containers coming through our ports.”

GPA has already moved 888,149 TEUs this fiscal year, a 34.6 percent increase or an additional 228,175 units over last year and a record for the Authority. A record breaking 130,681 TEUs moved via the Port of Savannah during January, representing a 53 percent increase or an additional 45,294 units compared to January 2002 results.

“To add more than 225,000 TEUs in the first seven months of the year is a first for GPA,” said Marchand. “We are headed toward another year of record-breaking results.”

GPA is committed to providing the best service to its customers, employees and partners in the maritime and trucking industries. Furthermore, it is committed to maintaining the most efficient, economical and technologically advanced ports in the maritime industry.

For additional information, please contact Robert Morris, Director of External Affairs, at (912) 964-3855 or fax at (912) 964-3921. E-mail is available via Visit the GPA web site at