When I heard the news that this year’s Georgia Ports Authority State of the Port Address would be virtual I immediately heard the clink of a white porcelain cup. For the past 10 years as the escalator delivered me to the top of the convention center that was the sound that I would hear and smile. I had arrived at Game Day!. The Georgia Ports Authority State of the Port Address is the most important event of the year for not just those in logistics, but every industry in Georgia. Savannah is the perfect arena for this event because it is where a handshake and smile are where most connections start. The meet and greet portion prior to the address provides stations of coffee service, hence the little white porcelain cups. Even the networking novice can score some points at stations provided with flavors, sugars and creamers. The petite size of the cups provides several opportunities to meet a new contact and connect with valued associates. The information given at the State of the Port Address is such a gold mine that even the busiest CEO finds a way to attend. People literally come from all over the world even though the information will be posted directly after the meeting. In Savannah’s hotel industry knowing what is happening at the Port before your competitors by even 10 minutes can make all the difference in the world for your company. Seven of the game days I I attended were as the DOS for a hotel company and we would do our annual budget meeting directly after I returned from the address. Many of the contacts I make at the address are from a myriad of industries. All of this to say I was disappointed, but clearly understood that it had to be done virtually as it was too important to not take place. Game day was the perfect name for the virtual event and the GPA always puts together an amazing production but I was blown away by the effort that the GPA put into this year’s address. They found a way to make the best of these adjusting times that we are in.
The GPA Game Day Charting the Course was an outstanding way for Griff Lynch and Will Mcknight to kick off the State of the Port Address. They used birth 5 of the largest container terminal in the Eastern Hemisphere as the background and were set up like sports casters. They even had port statics at the bottom of the screen like the sports shows do! Guest “stars” to the panel were offered a baseball cap upon departure and the video segment to speaker segways were done broadcast style. GPA video segments are always amazing and this was certainly not an exception. The only minus was that I missed the sound of awe from the crowd, the applause and the laughter. The State of the Port Address is always my favorite event because it’s the one place where all the news is good and everyone is really excited about what comes next. That is one thing that is the same, although this year has not been what was expected, the overall news is still good for the GPA and the state of Georgia. The summary of the address came in the beginning when the discussion turned to the fact that even in a pandemic we are still breaking records. I feel like those words are worth saying again.
Even in a pandemic we are still breaking records
Just like any good coach Griff Lynch, GPA executive director took the time to praise the team:
“We appreciate the decisions of cargo owners to place their trust in Georgia. As our economy recovers, customers continue to be attracted by Savannah’s strong fundamentals – including the people who make our ports work,” Lynch said. “I want to thank our GPA employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association and our many partners across the logistics industry for their dedication to service.”
Well deserved praise for the success of the Georgia Ports is a team effort and its strength comes from the collaborative spirit that we have here. In the month of September the Port of Savannah set a monthly record growing TEU’s by 11.4% During the first quarter of the 2021 fiscal year. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also had positive remarks . “Over the past year, our nation has faced unprecedented challenges that have impacted our daily lives and our economy. We’ve had to rethink how we handle the logistics of healthcare, retail, manufacturing – and the global trade that supports these endeavors,” Kemp said. “Through it all, our ports have remained steady, keeping cargo moving, attracting investment, and building market share.”
The full State of the Port Address can be found on the GPA website gaports.com and it’s worth the watch if you missed. Game day was a brilliant idea and indicative of the spirit of the Georgia logistics community. This year proves under every circumstance we keep winning the game!