Port of Savannah Makes Room for ZIM Giant

  • Business & Finance

The Georgia Ports Authority welcomed the largest ship ever to call on the Port of Savannah on Wednesday when the ZIM Tianjin docked at Garden City Terminal.

  The ship measures 1,145 feet long by 150 feet wide. Stood on end, it would stand nearly as tall as the Empire State Building (1,454 feet, including its antenna). The vessel’s route originated in Qingdao, China, arriving on the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal.

“This 10,000-TEU vessel represents the future of U.S.-Asia shipping,” said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz. “The Tianjin is another example of a growing trend in the ocean carrier business toward larger, more efficient vessels.”

GPA crews will make more than 2,000 container moves on and off the vessel during its time at dock.

“The economy of scale achieved by Super Post-Panamax vessels is the reason we’re seeing more of them in Savannah, a trend that will only continue after an expanded Panama Canal opens in 2016,” Foltz said.

In order to better accommodate Super Post-Panamax vessels, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project plans to deepen the main river channel to 47 feet at low tide (averaging 54 feet at high tide). This month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a USD 134.5 million contract that will mark the start of dredging. The contract covers deepening the outer harbor, extending 18.5 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.

Dredging the outer harbor constitutes about half of the project to deepen the 40-mile shipping channel and harbor from deep ocean to Garden City.

Georgia has approved USD 266 million in bonds to cover the state’s projected share of construction costs. As the USD 706 million expansion moves forward, construction funding will shift to federal dollars.

According to the port, better accommodating larger, more efficient vessels such as the Tianjin will save U.S. companies moving goods through Savannah 20 to 40 percent on transportation.

The Tianjin’s next stop will be Kingston, Jamaica.

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