Posted on May 1, 2023
One of the country’s largest ports sits right down the road in Savannah.
Ed McCarthy is the chief operating officer.
“The ship-to-shore cranes load the containers onto trucks, and then those trucks take those containers into yard stacks, and they’re stored until our customers are ready to pick them up,” he explained.
Sounds simple, right? It’s anything but.
Ships the size of four football fields come into the port.
Olli Himbert is the Port of Savannah’s Director of Engineering, overseeing many expansion aspects of the area.
“The wharf has to be pulled back from the river to allow for the berths to be constructed for larger ships to come in,” he said. “Eight ship-to-shore cranes are already under purchase right now.”
For Himbert, this is a dream job.
“Just the massive scale of construction,” he exclaimed.
Those new cranes and some work on the river will allow bigger ships to come in and more of them to line up at the dock.
Right now, the port moves close to three million big boxes on and off these boats.
Upgrades will make it close to four million boxes.
It will cost more than a billion bucks. The port is its own entity, So it does not get tax dollars.
But it does have a lot of status in the container shipping world. Savannah is the fourth largest port in the United States behind Los Angeles, Long Beach and New Jersey and sits in the top 40 in the world, according to the World Shipping Council.
The yard also has a mega rail, the largest on-port rail in North America. Eighteen to twenty percent of boxes will roll down the tracks.
“Which ultimately results in more trucks being taken off the roadways,” Himbert said.
Speaking of trucks, if an 18-wheeler picks up a container, they’re in port for about half an hour. If they’re loading and unloading, it runs about an hour before they’re back on the road.
This is the Garden City terminal, the port has four more, and it’s all larger than life.
Trucks that will carry one box look like ants on the ground.
35 ships come in a week and dock for 12-18 hours. Everything is a precise pattern from start to finish helping to make sure you get the packages you want.