SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Georgia Ports Authority says bigger ships using an expanded Panama Canal pushed its cargo volumes to record levels in fiscal 2017.

The state agency reported Monday that its seaports in Savannah and Brunswick handled 33.4 million tons (30.3 million metric tons) of total imports and exports in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s the ports’ greatest tonnage ever and an increase of 8.3 percent over the previous year.

The Port of Savannah, the fourth-busiest U.S. container port, moved a record 3.85 million container units. That’s an increase of 6.7 percent over fiscal 2017.

Griff Lynch, the port authority’s executive director, called the Panama Canal expansion “the largest single game changer” fueling growth over the past year.

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