Competitive Edge

November 17th, 2021

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New delays taking place involving California port fees, other terminals to charge port fees, current events, and more!

Freight News

Port of Savannah Creating Pop-Up Container Yards at a Georgia Airport to Store Ocean Containers Admist Congestion

Congestion at the Port of Savannah has been so severe that officials are planning on using a small airport in Georgia as a temporary overflow yard. Last Friday, the Georgia Ports Authority said it is setting up multiple inland locations as temporary container yards to expediate the flow of imports and exports at Savannah, the fourth largest container port in the nation. These emergency storage yards (which are from $8 million reallocated federal funds) come from the Biden administration instructing the Department of Transportation to allow more flexibility in how port grants are being used.

The Statesboro airport, just an hour west of Savannah, will begin receiving containers on November 22nd, according to Freightwaves. Robert Morris, GPA spokesman says the port authority will use an unused runway strip that will be able to hold 900 containers at any one time. The facility has 78,000 TEUs of annual capacity. This project was approved by the local airport, port officials, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Then on December 17th, the port authority will begin shuttling containers by rail to the Hulsey Yard in Atlanta, which is operated by freight railroad CSX. They will take up to 104,000 TEUs, according to Freightwaves.

As of Monday, 18 container vessels were still waiting in the Atlantic Ocean for a berth in Savannah, according to the Georgia Port Authority.

Florida Senator Proposing $125M in Grants to Reroute Container Ships

Lawmakers Rick Scott (Senator in Florida) and Carlos Gimenez (Representative in Florida) have introduced the Supply Chain Emergency Response Act this week. According to Freightwaves this act would redirect $125 million of unspent money from the CARES Act to help owners of vessels currently anchored off the U.S. West Coast to transit through the Panama Canal, then dock at U.S. Gulf or East Coast ports instead. In a draft of the bill the grant program would cover toll costs associated with rerouting vessels from the U.S. West Coast through the Panama Canal.

Scott and Gimenez also see this legislation as a way to move more container business through Florida ports. “Florida’s ports are ready and able to help with this crisis and I hope all of my colleagues work with us to quickly pass this good and urgently needed bill,” said Scott. With the ports on the U.S. West Coast struggling with congestion, ports in Florida and on the U.S. East Coast have eagerly been pushing for more cargo vessels to reroute from California. “Getting these cargo vessels to Florida and other Eastern states also alleviates the shipping container shortage, which has made it difficult for American producers to ship their goods and products abroad,” stated Gimenez.

According to Freightwaves, if this legislation goes through, in order to receive a grant any eligible vessel owners would have to submit to MarAd documentation that the owner:

  • Had an agreement to dock a cargo vessel at a port along the Western Seaboard of the U.S. and intends to reroute such cargo vessel from such port through the Panama Canal to a port along the Gulf of Mexico or the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.
  • Has an agreement to dock such cargo vessel at such port along the Gulf of Mexico or the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

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