Infrastructure improvements taking shape at Ocean Terminal


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Susan Gardner, senior director of operations and projects, is overseeing infrastructure improvements at Ocean Terminal.  The terminal recently received two new mobile harbor cranes.

Storage space, container handling part of plans

When Susan Gardner was offered a position with Georgia Ports Authority, she said the decision was an easy one and she was ready to hit the ground running.

Gardner, Senior Director of Operations and Projects, began her tenure with GPA in February just ahead of the COVID-19 crisis.

“I was ready to get back to the operations side of the business,” Gardner said. “There’s just an energy to port operations – working a vessel, seeing a project come together and the camaraderie of the team. There’s nothing like it.”

Gardner, who has more than two decades of experience in the maritime and logistics industry, said navigating the current environment presented some challenges for her teams at Ocean Terminal, Garden City Docks, Bainbridge and the Port of Brunswick.

“It was all hands on deck to ensure our team’s safety, and to keep cargo moving” Gardner said.

Gardner is currently overseeing the renovations at Ocean Terminal, which will allow GPA to grow container handling services on the 200-acre facility. Once construction is complete, the terminal will serve vessels up to 4,800 twenty-foot equivalent container unit capacity. Two mobile harbor cranes for these services arrived last month and container yard paving is expected to begin in September.

Phase 1 of the construction is set to be completed in early 2021. Additional renovations include improvements to Berth 18, a new gate complex with direct access to Interstate 516, refrigerated container service and the commission of eight new rubber-tired gantry cranes.  The expanded container terminal will have an annual capacity of 225,000 TEUs.

The upgraded terminal will also be equipped with N4, the new version of terminal operating software from Navis LLC. The N4 Terminal Operating System consists of a graphical planning and control system, and a comprehensive management system. The product duo allows quick and easy access to real-time data relating to cargo transiting Ocean Terminal.  

The N4 user experience will also be more intuitive. The change will enhance gate operations, import/export processing, billing and work order tracking. It will also optimize terminal operations. 

Gardner, who previously worked for Navis, said she’s proud Ocean Terminal will be the first GPA terminal to use the software. She added that while every port she’s visited has a personality, none compare to the environment at GPA.

“For me, with the volume that goes through the GPA, there’s no other port like it in North America,” Gardner said.