The maritime Port of Savannah was the nation’s eleventh busiest waterborne freight gateway for international trade by value of shipments in 2003. It ranked twenty-fourthoverall among all land, water, and air gateways with over $21 billion of international freight moving through it, up from thirtieth in 1999. This amount of trade represents about 3 percent of the value of U.S. international waterborne freight shipments and just over 1 percent of the total value of U.S. international merchandise trade by all modes of transportation.
By weight, 21 million tons of merchandise goods moved through the Port of Savannah in 2003. This accounts for about 2 percent of the total U.S. waterborne tonnage. Savannah ranks sixteenth by weight among all U.S. international waterborne ports.
The Port of Savannah handled 1.1 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2003. It is one of the fastest growing container ports in the country and currently ranks sixth among all U.S. container ports. There were over 2,000 vessel calls made at the Port of Savannah in 2003, 60 percent of these were container ships followed by dry-bulk and tanker ships at 11 percent each.
The Port of Savannah is a major point for imports from South and Central America and the Caribbean and for exports to Asian countries. By tonnage, Venezuela is the largest origin country for imports while Japan is the largest destination country for exports. The top-5 origin and destination countries for imports and exports respectively accounted for 46 percent of all tonnage moved through the Port of Savannah in 2003.
Between 1999 and 2003, the value of trade through the Port of Savannah increased by 58 percent—46 percent for exports and 66 percent for imports. During the same period the tonnage moving through the Port of Savannah increased by 40 percent—34 percent for exports and 44 percent for imports.
In 2003, the major commodity imports by weight through the Port of Savannah were petroleum products, crude petroleum, coal, sugar, and furniture. The leading exports by weight were clays, wood pulp, paper and paper board, meat, and wood.1
1 Source: Special tabulation from Port of Savannah, November 2004.