Brunswick is the rare port with lots of available land for expansion, and the Georgia Ports Authority is taking advantage of it with an aggressive growth plan aimed at winning new customers and capturing greater market share.
The sprawling Colonel's Island Terminal has 600 acres of auto processing lots and buildings. Last year, the port authority increased parking spaces 50 percent to 90,000, for a total annual capacity of 800,000 vehicles.
At his State of the Port address Oct. 25, Port Director Griff Lynch detailed plans to double auto rail capacity, enabling Brunswick to expand service to markets as far west as California. Currently, the port moves nearly 25,000 vehicles to points west of the Mississippi River. The dockside expansion will give Brunswick the ability to build 10,000-foot-long unit trains, which make direct service over greater distances more attractive to Class I railroads. Lynch said he expects the port to become a national gateway for imports and exports of passenger and heavy-duty vehicles.
Over the next year, the port authority will add 60 dockside acres to the auto operation, increasing car storage by 8,250 spaces. It also plans a new cross-terminal road linking the three roll-on/roll-off vessel berths as well as a new access road between the docks and the island's south side. The improvements offer a more direct route to auto processing lots and new development on the south end of the terminal.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has permitted another 400 acres for development, 100 of which is being designed for the next phase of expansion. At full build-out, annual throughput capacity will be 1.5 million vehicles.
The Corps is reviewing the port's application for a fourth berth.