Georgia port paves the way to become No. 1 in the United States with massive expansion

ATLANTA — If you’ve ever purchased a new car in Georgia, there’s a good chance it rolled off a ship at the Port of Brunswick.

Soon, more cars are going to be rolling off those big ships than anywhere else in the United States.

An expansion at the Port of Brunswick will mean the location has the capacity to be the busiest auto port in the country by 2026.

Right now, Baltimore, Maryland has the distinction.

During a visit to the port, Georgia Ports Authority COO Ed McCarthy spoke with Channel 2′s Justin Farmer about the expansion.

“We have anywhere from 2,500 to 4,500 (cars) coming off any one of these ships. These ships come to us from all over the world bringing import vehicles,” McCarthy said.

In 2023, the Port of Brunswick moved about 776,000 cars, trucks, SUVs and equipment such as John Deere tractors. That’s a 6% increase over 2022′s volume.

Brunswick’s story involves exports too. American goods purchased by other countries and leaving our ports for profit. It’s enough to earn federal money.


U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg reiterated the importance of that to Farmer saying.

“This is a very important terminal for the American economy. Not just for Georgia, but really for the whole country, partly because it facilitates exports,” Buttigieg said.

The federal government chips in tens of millions of dollars from time to time, but it’s nowhere close to the hundreds of millions invested by the ports themselves.

“We do not use tax dollars. We take revenue and all the expenses then take whatever profits are left over and we pour that back into capital projects to build the $262 million that we are expanding down here in Brunswick,” McCarthy said.

It’s a directive from Gov. Brian Kemp.

“We’re trying to make Brunswick the number one railroad port in the country. That’s roll on, roll off vehicles coming into the port… going onto ships out of the United States and vice versa,” Kemp told Farmer.

Combined with Savannah’s container ship operations, Georgia ports support more than a half million jobs, pouring billions of dollars back into the state economy.

“A port job is a great job to have. We’re blessed to have almost 1,800 employees at the port, but it really impacts over a half million jobs in the state of Georgia,” McCarthy said.