The US port of Brunswick has reported its busiest ever month in April, thanks in part to finished vehicles and high and heavy (H&H) traffic diverted from the port of Baltimore following the collapse of the Francis Key Scott bridge in March.

Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) handled a record 80,600 units of ro-ro cargo in April, an increase of more than 44%, or 24,760 units, compared to the same month last year. Of that number approximately 9,000 passenger vehicles were diverted to Brunswick from Baltimore, as well as 1,000 units of H&H equipment.

230517 Colonel's Island -2

GPA will be further expanding the Colonel’s Island vehicle terminal with Wallenius Wilhelmsen

“We are expecting the impact of diverted cargo to taper off in June, as the port of Baltimore works to fully restore service,” said GPA president and CEO, Griff Lynch.

The last piece of steel truss blocking the Fort McHenry Federal Channel in Baltimore has been removed and the port has begun to recover full volumes.

Factors driving growth 
There are other factors contributing to growth at Brunswick port, according to Lynch. “Asian imports remain strong, but we are also seeing an uptick in vehicle exports, new customers have chosen Georgia Ports, and we have increased capacity for existing customers,” he said at the most recent GPA board meeting. “Additionally, manufacturers are working to raise dealership stocks from the current 14-day inventories to 30 days’ worth of vehicles.”

According to Patrick Manzi, chief economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), average days of vehicle supply in the US stands at 51 for April (up from 31 days in April 2023), though there is considerable variance between brands, with Toyota at 23 days of supply and the Dodge Ram standing at 129 days, at either end of the scale. Manzi was speaking at the recent Finished Vehicle Logistics North America conference in California.

The port of Brunswick handled approximately 740,000 cars and light trucks last year, split roughly 75% imports and 25% exports. That made it the third busiest port in North America (see table). Mercedes-Benz USA was its top customer by volume.

GPA is expanding the scale of operations at the port of Brunswick with logistics service provider Wallenius Wilhelmsen. That includes expansions and enhancements to its existing terminal and vehicle processing centre (VPC), as well as the addition of a new equipment processing centre (EPC) able to store, customise, assemble and distribute machinery.

“These state-of-the-art facilities allow us to work on our customers’ products in factory-like conditions that stand above any on-port setting,” said Mike Hynekamp, COO of logistics services at Wallenius Wilhelmsen. “The upgraded facilities are purpose built to allow for the safe and efficient completion, storage, inspection and distribution of our customers’ products without the need to dray to an off-site location,” adds Hynekamp.

Top ten busiest vehicle ports in North America in 2023 by volume


Volume in 2023 (% increase on 2022)


Veracruz, MX

933,603 (+8.98%)

Baltimore, US

847,158 (+12.9)

Brunswick, US

740,000 (+17.1)

Lázaro Cárdenas, MX

699,133 (+8.1%)

Altamira, MX

456,538 (+33.3%)

Vancouver, CA

454,151 (+36.1%)

Jacksonville, US

433,837 (-23%)

New York/New Jersey, US

403,361 (-9.1%)

San Diego, US

400,000 (+13.0%)

Hueneme, US

379, 925 (+17.4%)

Read more about throughput at the top performing US and Canadian ports in 2023