New Port of Savannah ‘mega railyard’ aims to ease supply backlog

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Georgia continues to grapple with supply chain issues as we head into the holidays.

Everything from Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas presents are stuck in container ships outside ports across the country, including Savannah, the third-largest port in North America.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Right now, the Port of Savannah is clogged with more than 80,000 containers, 20,000 more than they’d like to have. There are an additional 14 big container ships docked off the coast.

The problem is moving the containers out to make room for the container ships.

A shortage of truck drivers and warehouse workers is creating a traffic jam of cargo ships waiting to unload, but state leaders are hoping a so-called “mega railyard” will change that.

Gov. Brian Kemp cut the ribbon on the new mega-rail yard, located directly across the street from the port, Friday. Officials think it will increase the capacity to move containers out by 30%.

“They’re going to help move this cargo off the facility, free it up so we can handle more ships more quickly,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of Georgia Ports Authority.


Kemp touted the port authority’s forward thinking in planning for this rail yard months, ago before the supply chain became an issue.

He stressed that the state did this before the federal government talked about infrastructure.

“They were working on this six months ago, which is when, in my opinion, the federal government should’ve been focused on this, but back then, they didn’t want anybody out in the work force working,” Kemp said.

But Port Authority officials point out the new infrastructure bill President Biden is expected to sign Monday will include $8 million to create three so-called “pop-up” container yards to free up even more space in Savannah.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Sen. Rafael Warnock was in Georgia to talk infrastructure, and said those pop-up yards will help unlock the supply chain.

“And what that’s going to do is to get things moving quicker in and off those ships,” Warnock said.