A key gateway for international trade, the Georgia Ports Authority operates deepwater ports in Savannah and Brunswick and inland river ports at Bainbridge and Columbus. The Port of Savannah, one of the largest on the East Coast, includes the Garden City Terminal, a major container-handling facility. The port's Ocean Terminal is dedicated to breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo. Cargo handled at the Brunswick terminals includes automobiles and agricultural and forest products. The Georgia Ports Authority is overseen by a thirteen-member board appointed by the governor of Georgia. The state's port system began operations in 1945.
Unlike so-called landlord ports, which lease terminal facilities to third parties, the Georgia Ports Authority operates most of its terminals. Having greater control over terminal operations has been an advantage to the agency in wooing new business.
To handle additional trade volume, the agency has been investing in upgrades to its container-handling capacity. In addition, it has worked to expand its on-dock rail facilities, a key to the handling of intermodal freight.
Georgia Ports Authority executive director Doug Marchand has worked hard to attract distribution centers to the Savannah area in order to draw more traffic to the port. Two key wins over the years have been Home Depot and Wal-Mart distribution facilities. – less