To meet rising container demand, the Ocean Terminal at the Port of Savannah is being renovated to handle two container ships simultaneously. This year, construction began to turn the 200-acre terminal into a container-only operation. GPA Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Georgia’s ports handled a record 5.9 million containers in 2022, a 5 percent increase showing that the ports have more than recovered from a turbulent era. 

Even as companies continue to face shortages of certain parts and components, the numbers bolstered the idea that the backlogs and snarls of the early pandemic were no longer acutely affecting one of the state’s largest economic engines. 

In fact, the Port of Savannah, the main container port, is planning for dramatic future growth with the renovation of Berth 1 at the Garden City Terminal to handle 16,000-container vessels and other infrastructure improvements.

By the end of 2023, Savannah will up its capacity by 25 percent from 6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 7.5 million, with another jump to 9 million by 2025. That’s thanks to a 90-acre Garden City Terminal expansion and the transition of the port’s Ocean Terminal — which currently handles roll-on, roll-off items like cars and tractors and breakbulk cargo like grain — to an all-container facility. 

During the fiscal year 2021, which ended last June, Georgia saw its total trade reach a record $166.11 billion, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...