Georgia’s global access helps local businesses make connections and stay competitive around the world. Our state is home to a world-class logistics infrastructure that sets it apart from the competition. The largest single container port in North America and the world’s most traveled airport provide Georgia businesses seamless access to export markets, and are poised to keep pace with growing global demand.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is currently the 10th largest cargo hub in the North America with more than 2 million-square-feet of cargo handling space. As part of a $6 billion expansion plan unveiled in 2016, Hartsfield-Jackson will invest in three additional cargo facilities to further boost trade and entice businesses to import and export via the Atlanta airport.
The Port of Savannah continues to see record increases in container traffic, and the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) is well underway. SHEP will allow larger vessels traversing the expanded Panama Canal to call on the Port of Savannah, providing lower costs per container for companies moving product through the Port. Earlier this month, the Georgia Ports Authority broke records by welcoming the largest container ship to ever call on the U.S. East Coast with 5,500 containers on board.
The growing capacity of Georgia’s sea and air ports means greater global opportunities for exporters all across the state. In 2016, Georgia exports topped $35.5 billion, reaching 214 unique countries and territories. Top exports including aerospace products, motor vehicles, machinery, medical equipment and poultry, reached new international markets via Georgia air and sea ports. But companies don’t need to be located near Savannah or Atlanta to take advantage of export opportunities. Companies in 95 percent of Georgia counties participate in international trade, and more than $15.5 billion in goods exports in 2015 were from outside of the Metro Atlanta region.
Companies seeking resources to help them export can turn to the free trade services offered by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Georgia’s International Trade Division works statewide, supporting a wide variety of industry sectors including life sciences, transportation and logistics, food and agriculture, information and communication technologies, and aerospace, defense and security. The division is committed to expanding small business exports and increasing Georgia’s export value by traveling to all 12 regions of the state providing trade services to Georgia companies. In 2016, GDEcD International Trade Managers made over 600 visits to companies and economic developers in 106 counties across the state.
With offices in 11 global markets around the world, the state of Georgia is strategically situated to provide world-class service to Georgia companies looking to export for the first time or simply grow their business by expanding into new markets. Georgia’s international representatives in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Europe, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United Kingdom and Ireland can provide the global insight and connections that are vital for local companies seeking new international customers.
Exporting isn’t just for big companies. Small businesses can also find global customers to help them grow. According to the International Trade Administration, more than 14,500 Georgia businesses were involved in exporting in 2015. Nearly 89 percent of these companies qualified as small businesses. Georgia’s International Trade Division and its export partners specialize in helping small business make international connections, with 84 percent of companies assisted by GDEcD having fewer than 100 employees. 57 percent of clients in 2016 had fewer than 20 employees.
Interested in learning more about how GDEcD helps Georgia businesses go global and experience real results in the international growth of their business? Check out our new trade services video, and connect with us at Georgia.org/Trade.