Georgia Ports Authority
Curtis J. Fultz, Executive Director
FTZ No. 104 • Port of Savannah: 1,400 total acres; Port of Brunswick • 21 berths • 3,383,500 sq. ft. warehouse space • Port of Savannah: 42-ft. channel; Port of Brunswick: 36-ft. channel • ICTF
Rail: CSX, NS
Highways: I-95, I-16
Top trade lanes: Northeast Asia, Mediterranean, Southeast Asia
Top export commodities: Wood Pulp, Paper, Cotton
Curtis Foltz: I think one of the most important things that we provide for our customers, exporters and importers, is not only do we own multiple assets throughout the state, on behalf of the state, but we also operate them. We are not a port authority that leases facilities out, nor are we a port authority that is part of a local municipality—we are a statewide entity. I think while that in itself is extremely valuable to someone who’s looking to trade commerce around the world, it’s not only about our P&L or return on investment capital; we are challenged by the state to build economic strength through our ports and jobs through our port system. We are responsible for reinvesting and effectively paying our own way, and to date we have been successful in putting together a 10-year investment plan at all our ports that will allow us to reinvest at a rate of about $120 million a year over the next decade or so. For the next 10 years under our new 2024 plan, we’ll be investing $1.4 billion, making sure that our ports have the capacity to earn us the forecasted continued growth in export container trades, our roll-on, roll-off export service in different parts of the globe. We continue to see growth in biofuels, whether it’s wood chips, peanut hulls, peanut pellets or wood pellets, around the globe. TWe must make sure that capacity—this new business in new markets coming out of the Southeast—has efficient access to destinations and even agri-bulk products, dry bulk materials, as we have seen a lot of products not only coming out of the Southeast but the Midwest. Our terminals are efficiently billed and paid for when handling these goods. We are in a very unique position to be able to offer a broad and diversified portfolio of product offerings, if you want to look at it that way. But then again, it’s not a singularly focused port that’s only going down one path. We have been able to create what we believe to be a one-of-a-kind container facility in the United States. We are actually export dominant, which in a trade across the spectrum of the U.S. that imbalance is 60 percent imports, 40 percent exports. We actually export more containers loaded volumes than we import; about 53 percent of our laden containers are exports, 48 percent are import. We are real pleased where we are as the gateway for exports in the Southeast. So if you ship forest products, kaolin clay, poultry or frozen commodities, chemicals or AG products out of the Southeast, there is no better place to do it than the Port of Georgia.
Global Trade: Did I hear correctly that you are in the first year of your 10-year investment plan?
Curtis Foltz: We are. It is something that we do every two years. We started it in 2005, and we just completed our fourth cycle of that, and we are now in 2014, and have delivered a 2024 plan to our board that has supported it, accepts it. We think it paves the way for us to invest in the future. But we recognize also that it needs to be updated about every two years so that we are staying current with whatever the latest demands are out there.
GT: You mentioned you have a one-of-a-kind container facility; what are some points on the list that make it unique?
CF: Its scope and scale are unmatched in the United States. It sits on 1,200 acres. All 37 weekly container vessels that call our port, or services that call our port, call at the single terminal. All 19 of the top 20 ocean carriers that call our port call at that single terminal and use common assets—people, equipment, space, technology—so they are afforded the synergy of all those different assets and it really has allowed us to have a single terminal that this year will have 3.1 million TEUs through it, and have the ability on the single footprint to go to about 6.5 million TEUs. So we are fortunate to be able to offer those sorts of economies of scale and value-driven benefits to our customers.
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