Small businesses at the heart of Georgia Ports trade


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Blickle imports wheels and casters from Germany and Asia. The U.S.-based location is found in Newnan, Ga., a little more than four hours from the Port of Savannah.

Majority of GPA’s customers moved fewer than 100 TEUs

Georgia’s robust logistics network including two premier deepwater ports, the world’s busiest airport and unmatched highway connectivity makes it a desirable place in which to do business for companies across the state. But international business ventures are not just reserved for big-box retailers. Far from it, in fact.

In Calendar Year 2021, more than 30,000 customers using the Port of Savannah moved fewer than 100 twenty-foot equivalent container units. This accounts for 91.6 percent of Savannah’s customers. Small businesses in the U.S. Southeast rely on Georgia’s ports to provide the kind of services that will help them prosper.

Providing exceptional customer service across the board is something Georgia Ports’ employees take to heart. Customers, both large and small, agree that personalized touches make GPA stand out among its competitors. Scott Chahalis, president of Blickle U.S.A. Wheels and Casters Inc., said GPA’s customer service is off the charts.

“Georgia Ports treats customers all the same,” Chahalis said. “We get better answers faster here in Savannah.”

Chahalis said recent supply chain issues made the decision to divert more cargo from the West Coast to Savannah an easy one. The company imports wheels and casters primarily from Germany and Asia.

“Regardless of our size, we feel known at Georgia Ports,” Chahalis said. He added that during the team’s recent visit to Garden City Terminal, GPA team members including Regional Sales Manager David Porter provided insights into how the company could move cargo more efficiently.

Although Blickle is a global company, the U.S.-based location is found in Newnan, Ga., a little more than four hours from the Port of Savannah. Chahalis said he prefers to deal with local businesses and having Garden City Terminal in the company’s backyard is a bonus.

“The foundation of business is serving companies like Blickle,” Chahalis said. “And Georgia Ports realizes that.”

Other companies based in the Peach State tout the benefits of having a gateway container port close to manufacturing facilities.

BattlBox is a monthly subscription box based in Milledgeville, Ga. and offers its customers items for camping, survival, and other outdoor scenarios. Director of Marketing Walter Hix said the company focuses on imports and it has found shipping through the Port of Savannah to be fast and efficient.

“We are very grateful the port is close and the GPA team has been wonderful to work with,” Hix said. “We have found bringing product through the Savannah port to be much more efficient than some of the West Coast options.  It’s also nice to have local support on delivery — from port to door.”

BattlBox has gained national attention in recent years and has been featured in Survivor’s Edge and the New York Times. Also, the crew stars in an original Netflix series, Southern Survival.

The speed to market that GPA’s services provide is key for small business dealing with recent supply chain challenges. Susan Peterson, owner and co-founder of Relish Gifts, said importing the company’s melamine dinnerware from Guatemala through Savannah has made a tremendous difference. The company, which is based in Rome, Ga., is a wholesale retailer for companies across the U.S. and offers direct-to-consumer business through its website.

“The personal care we receive has changed the way we do business,” Peterson said. “We know we can pick up the phone and call, and we’ll always get an answer.”

Peterson said the company was recently desperate to receive a shipment, and the GPA team worked with her to ship it quicker and more cost efficiently.

“GPA gave me options to get our product here faster — whether that was by truck or rail,” Peterson said. “We are still learning and growing every month, and won’t be coming through any other port!”