Port of Savannah, Georgia-Water Gateway

Port of Savannah, Georgia-Water Gateway

The maritime Port of Savannah was the nation's sixth busiest waterborne freight gateway for international trade by value of shipments in 2008. It ranked 13th among all land, water, and air gateways, handling almost $59 billion of international freight. Savannah's overall ranking jumped from 24th in 2003.1 The amount of trade handled at Savannah in 2008 represented 4 percent of the value of U.S. international waterborne freight shipments, accounting for about 5 percent of U.S. waterborne exports and 3 percent of imports (table 1).

By weight, the Port of Savannah ranked 12th among all U.S. international water ports. In 2008, the port processed 36 million tons of goods, accounting for about 2 percent of total U.S. waterborne tonnage. The port handled 2.1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2008 (table 1).

The Port of Savannah is a major gateway for imports from South and Central America and the Caribbean and for exports to Asian countries. By tonnage, Trinidad and Tobago was the top origin country for imports in 2008, and China was the top destination country for exports, followed by Italy and South Korea (table 2).2 Point Fortin, Trinidad, was the top origin port for imports. Pusan, South Korea, was the major destination port for exports (table 3).3

More than 2,600 vessel calls were made at the Port of Savannah in 2007. Of these, about 69 percent were container ships, 11 percent were tanker ships, and 9 percent were dry-bulk ships (table 4).

In 2008, the major commodity imports by loaded TEUs were furniture; retail consumer goods; machinery, appliances, and electronics; and hardware and housewares. Measured by TEUs, the leading exports were wood pulp, food, and paper and paper board (including waste). The fastest-growing exports were automotive goods and food products, and the fastest-growing imports were rugs, sheets, towels, and blankets, and apparel.4

1 U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, America's Freight Transportation Gateways: Connecting Our Nation to Places and Markets Abroad (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2004).

2 Data for 2008 are not available for weight and vessels calls. Data in tables 2, 3, and 4 are from 2007.

3 Note that the top port is not in the top country listed here because this port handles a larger share of its country's trade with this U.S. gateway. By comparison, trade with the top country is distributed among more ports, and thus each rank lower on the port list.

4 Georgia Ports Authority website, www.gaports.com/SalesandMarketing/MarketingBusinessDevelopment/GPABytheNumbers/tabid/435/Default.aspx as of Aug. 10, 2009.