February 19, 2024

Ports roundup: Georgia breaks export record with almost $50B in trade


The Georgia Ports Authority sets export record for the third year consecutive year; the Alabama Port Authority and CSX partner to launch a new intermodal facility; and the Port of Cleveland receives $32 million to modernize its facilities.

Georgia breaks export record with almost $50B in trade in 2023

For the third consecutive year, exports from the state of Georgia hit an all-time high, reaching $49.7 billion in 2023, according to the state’s Department of Economic Development.

The previous record for exports was $47 billion set in 2022. Top exports included civilian aircrafts ($8.2 billion), motor vehicles ($3.1 billion), turbojets ($2.3 billion), poultry ($1.5 billion) and chemical woodpulp ($1.3 billion).

“For the third year in a row, Georgia has broken every record when it comes to exports, bringing billions of dollars to communities all across the state,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a news release. “With an estimated 87% of those exports coming from small businesses, these numbers are further evidence of just how Georgia means opportunity for all. International trade touches every county in the state, supporting jobs in logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and more.”

During 2023, the state’s top export markets were Canada ($7.6 billion), Mexico ($4.8 billion), China ($3.9 billion), Germany ($2.6 billion) and Singapore ($2.2 billion).

Georgia ranked seventh in the U.S. for dollar value of trade in 2023, facilitating more than $186 billion. Georgia ranked 12th in the country for dollar value of exports.

Trade facilities across the state include Atlanta International Airport, the Port of Savannah and  the Port of Brunswick. 

Pat Wilson, commissioner of the state’s department of economic development, said they work around the world to market Georgia products and Georgia-made goods.

“These representatives work with our Georgia-based export specialists to ensure that Georgia businesses have an advantage and our economy remains strong,” Wilson said.

Alabama Port Authority and CSX partner to build intermodal container facility

The Alabama Port Authority recently announced it will build an intermodal container facility to provide improved rail connectivity with the Port of Mobile and the northern parts of the state.

The newest intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF) is a partnership between the port authority and CSX Transportation. It will be built in the city of Decatur, according to a news release.

The Port of Mobile will redevelop a portion of an existing CSX facility in Decatur to help expedite the project. Another ICTF was announced in the city of Montgomery in 2022. Both projects are scheduled to be completed by 2026.

The ICTF at the Port of Mobile provides access to five Class I freight railroads and four shortline railroads.

“This project demonstrates our commitment to foster growth, connect markets and propel economic progress for the region,” Maryclare Kenney, CSX’s vice president of intermodal and auto, said in a statement. “The facility’s strategic location improves multimodal flexibility throughout the state and creates sustainable, dynamic, rail-to-truck transportation solutions for our customers.”

The Alabama Port Authority currently has more than $1 billion in capital projects underway across the state, including expanding the container terminal at the Port of Mobile and a project to deepen and widen the Mobile Ship Channel.

Other planned investments include constructing an interterminal connector bridge to create on-dock rail access at the Port of Mobile’s container terminal, as well as modernizing the port’s general cargo piers.

Cleveland port secures $32M for upgrades, modernization projects

The Port of Cleveland recently received $32 million in federal and state grants that it will utilize to modernize the port’s largest warehouse and upgrade electrical infrastructure at its general cargo terminal.

William Friedman, the port’s president and CEO, said the investments were critical to the port’s continuing operations, as well as sustainability.  

“These initiatives stand as a testament to our commitment to sustainable practices,” Friedman said in a news release. “True environmental stewardship requires translating words into meaningful, concrete actions.”

Part of the funds will be used for modernizing the Port of Cleveland’s Warehouse A, which is over 50 years old. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The grants include $27.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation and $4.9 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Maritime Assistance Program.

The funds will be used for modernizing the port’s Warehouse A, which is over 50 years old. The upgrades include adding structural steel repairs, a new overhead crane, window replacements, new concrete slab, updated lighting and a new roof. 

Funds will also be employed to develop an electrification master plan and installation of a new terminal electric feed at the port, in collaboration with Cleveland Public Power.

The latest funds are part of more than $93 million invested in the port’s infrastructure since 2015, with more than 75% of it covered by state and federal grants. The goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making Cleveland the first Great Lakes port to adopt such an ambitious plan, Friedman said.

“Through these measures approved today, we are actively decarbonizing and forging a path toward a greener and more sustainable future,” Friedman said.

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