Unique Advantages at Georgia Ports Authority?s Ocean Terminal


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Unlike a container operation, Ocean Terminal offers something different each day. Even as more freight is shipped via containers, Ocean Terminal holds on to its history, while continuing to bring economic growth to Georgia.

The Georgia Ports Authority’s Ocean Terminal, a gateway for international trade of breakbulk commodities, has come a long way from its beginnings in the late 1800s. Originally designed and built as a passenger and cargo terminal by the Ocean Steamship Company in 1872, it was known as the Savannah Line and offered service between Savannah, New York, and Boston. The Savannah Line began operating with six steamships purchased for $600,000. The Ocean Steamship Company Terminal was originally constructed with slip vessel berths and warehousing. Only one of these slips remains, but the draft is too shallow for today’s large vessels to dock there. The terminal was originally served by four railroads – The Central of Georgia, Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Air Line, and the Southern Railway. As railroads consolidated, the Georgia Ports Authority purchased the Ocean Steamship Terminal from the Central of Georgia Railroad and began construction of a new cargo terminal.

Today, the 200-acre facility continues to be a hub for breakbulk commodities. Ocean Terminal boasts a little more than 1.4 million square feet of warehouse space. It is served by Class I railroads CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, with on-terminal switching provided by NS. The terminal’s five berths are 42 feet deep. Four of the five berths feature on-dock rail. Cargo moving by truck can reach Interstate 516 in 2 miles and Interstate 95 in less than 10 miles.

Fourteen steamship lines call Ocean Terminal monthly or bi-monthly. The terminal offers a variety of vessels that fit customer needs, such as Roll-on/Roll-off, Con / Ro and dedicated breakbulk vessels. Commodities handled are iron and steel, linerboard, rubber, machinery, wood pulp, and automobiles.

The GPA owns a 100-ton gantry crane and has partnered with Stevens Towing to offer a 500-ton floating barge crane moored on terminal. These cranes, along with local vendors, allow the GPA to move any size project that may come this way. In 2016, the terminal handled a 300-ton plus transformer destined for a local power plant. The transformer along with the 16-axle railcar weighed more than a million pounds. It was the second heaviest lift ever at Ocean Terminal.

Only a four-hour drive from major markets such as Atlanta, Orlando and Charlotte, an experienced staff, flexible services and rapid market access make Ocean Terminal a perfect hub for breakbulk cargo.


David Porter, Regional Sales Manager