AAPA Seaports Advisory

Maritime Economic Development: Georgia, Kalama

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Georgia Ports: Developers adding 3.6 Million Square Feet of Warehouse Space

Investors are adding industrial space to meet booming demand in Savannah, with more than 1.7 million square feet of warehousing recently completed, an additional 1.9 million square feet under construction, and a newly announced 2,700-acre development, all located within close proximity of the Georgia Port Authority’s marine terminals.

"These commitments by the private sector on numerous commercial real estate projects show confidence in the continued success of Savannah as a cargo hub for the U.S. Southeast," said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz.

"As Savannah's logistical advantages continue to draw new customers to Georgia, demand should remain strong for additional industrial space."

Mr. Foltz said the market requires higher vacancy rates to ensure space upon demand for customers that do not have the luxury of time for construction. Currently, seven major projects are being developed.

David Sink, a principal in the Savannah office of Colliers International, predicted continued strong demand for sites and warehouse space. "We are likely to see more announcements and we are very likely to see some more speculative construction based on the interest we have seen from development companies," he said.

Counting all industrial space, including manufacturing, the Savannah market comprises just over 46.4 million square feet, with 1.4 million square feet (3.04 percent) vacant, according to the Colliers report.

Recent industrial announcements in the Savannah market include:

  • Rail provider and industrial real estate company OmniTRAX announced in March plans for a 2,700-acre industrial park within minutes of the Port of Savannah. In a public-private partnership with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, OmniTRAX will develop the megasite, which is served by both Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation railroads. OmniTRAX will provide capital for infrastructure including a rail system to connect the tenants to the Class 1 rail operators. Customers are expected to be manufacturers, processers, distributors and others.
  • OA Logistics/ JLA Home will soon open its 1.1 million-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center at Northport industrial park that will add 200-300 jobs. The company already operates a 679,000-square-foot distribution center in Savannah.
  • Rugs and home furnishing seller Safavieh, which already has two properties in Savannah, is building a 500,000 square-foot facility featuring 100 loading docks.

Griff Lynch, the ports authority’s incoming executive director, said the new developments provide an excellent market opportunity for the Port of Savannah. "In conjunction with the expanded Panama Canal opening this year, and construction on the Savannah Harbor deepening under way, this additional space off terminal will complement GPA's efforts to draw business to the region," Mr. Lynch said.

Specialty metals manufacturing distributor leases 23,000 square feet at Port of Kalama

Specialty metals manufacturing distributor Aero-Vac Alloys & Forge, Inc. has chosen the Port of Kalama to expand its business. The company will relocate its corporate headquarters and production facility from California to a 23,000 square foot location leased from the port under an agreement that took effect May 1, 2016.

"There are so many reasons we are moving our operations to Kalama: it is a prime location for production, distribution, and transportation; the buildings and amenities exceed those we’ve seen elsewhere; there are incredible business and tax incentives; and a ready and skilled workforce," said company president Tim LuMaye.

"Frankly, in addition to the business aspects, I fell in love with Kalama for its small town appeal and the natural beauty—the river and mountain views are exceptional. I cannot wait to move!"

Aero-Vac is an AS9100-certified manufacturing distributor of specialty metals like bar, forgings, plate, sheet and tube to OEMs and steel manufacturers for the aerospace and commercial industries. The company’s offerings include alloy, stainless, nickel, aluminum, titanium, carbon and cast iron for processing and custom fabrication.

The company, whose customers counts Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and General Electric among its customers, expects to add six to eight new personnel to its Kalama operations as warranted to support increased distribution to the aerospace industry throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Aero-Vac joins a growing number of industry and business tenanted at the Port of Kalama. The port offers an Industrial Park and acres of shovel-ready land for manufacturing, technology, storage and other industry sectors. Its 16 acres of public riverfront parks are popular recreational destinations for both locals and tourists.


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