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Georgia port sets record month for auto deliveries amid Baltimore fallout

A port in Georgia set a new monthly record for its auto deliveries in March as the Baltimore Port remains closed after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed late last month.

Colonel’s Island Terminal at the Port of Brunswick rolled 77,236 auto and heavy machinery units on and off shipping vessels in March, the Georgia Port Authority announced Wednesday. This continues an upward trend for the Georgia port, where the state port authority has invested $262 million to expand its capacity.

The increase in auto cargo for the Georgia port comes as U.S. automakers had to reroute cargo and shipping routes while they wait for the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore to be rebuilt and the port to fully reopen. Baltimore is the top port for vehicle shipments in the U.S., according to the Maryland Port Administration.

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The March numbers for the Port of Brunswick do not reflect any of the diverted Baltimore cargo volumes, according to Edward Fulford, the media manager for Georgia Ports Authority. He noted that April cargo numbers would clarify what additional volumes the port picked up from Baltimore.

Georgia Ports Authority President and CEO Griff Lynch said in a statement that the increase in autos were due to “organic growth and new customers.”

“Import and export trade has increased as auto makers expanded production and Colonel’s Island processors have captured additional market share in the South Atlantic region,” Lynch said in a statement.

The agency said that it has handled 628,937 total units from July 2023 to March, making the agency on track to handle an “all-time record of 800,000 units by the end of its fiscal year in June.”

The Colonel’s Terminal handled a record number of 52 vessels last month, which is up 27 percent from March 2023, according to the announcement. The Georgia Ports Authority announced earlier this year that its Brunswick port handled a record number of automobiles in 2023.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said earlier this month that they planned to reopen the permanent Baltimore channel by the end of May. Until the channel is fully reopened, East Coast ports have been preparing to accept shipments of goods that were rerouted from the Port of Baltimore.

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