The US port of Brunswick moved more than 775,560 finished vehicle and machinery units last year, an increase of 15.6% on ro-ro performance in 2022.

Brunswick and its neighbour Savannah port handled just over 651,500 finished vehicles in that year, second only to the port of Baltimore.

Colonels-Island Jan24

GPA is expanding capacity for vehicle handling at the port of Brunswick

The Colonel’s Island terminal provides services for 23 carmakers and 17 heavy machinery makers. The top five passenger car makers are Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and GM. The top machinery equipment makers using the terminal are Hyundai, John Deere, Caterpillar, Wirtgen and Hamm.

Looking ahead, Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) said investments of $262m and the expansion of capacity at the Colonel’s Island terminal will make it the premier ro-ro facility in the US. The GPA has a strategy in place to focus all ro-ro cargo at the Colonel’s Island terminal while the port of Savannah concentrates on containerised trade, according to Griff Lynch, president and CEO of GPA. This year the authority and its terminal operators will have expanded annual vehicle capacity at the Colonel’s Island terminal to 1.4m units.

The expansion includes warehousing close to the dock for vehicle and machinery processing. The terminal has three new warehouses, with more processing centres due for completion later this year. It also includes 122 acres of new ro-ro cargo storage space, a fourth ro-ro berth, which is in the engineering phase, and plans for a new rail yard. GPA said the expansion would enable carmakers to meet growing import and export needs, as well as providing flexibility for the storage and movement of vehicles during seasonal cycles. The GPA said it planned to invest $4.2 billion in the next ten years.

“At its current rate of growth, the port of Brunswick is poised to become the nation’s busiest gateway for ro-ro cargo,” said Lynch. “We will be ready to serve this growth with our capital improvement projects underway and available land to expand to demand.”

At the adjacent container port of Savannah, which is also managed by GPA, there was a 16% decrease in the number of TEUs processed. The port handled 4.9m TEUs in 2023 and GPA said that was down to higher inflation and interest rates, which had slowed consumer spending resulting in higher inventories in warehouses.