Port of Savannah Harbor Deepening Reaches Major Milestone

By MarEx 2012-04-11 14:38:08

USACE Releases Final Documents Showing Powerful Economic Benefits

After 15 years of study, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced that it had released the final documents for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) for review by state and federal agencies and the general public.

“The study released today clearly shows that the deepening of the Savannah port will produce powerful economic benefits to the nation and to Georgia,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “Today marks an important milestone for the Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Georgia and the great number of Americans who will benefit from the project.”

In the studies released by the Corps, the project is estimated to cost $652 million and will provide $174 million in annual net benefits to the nation. For every dollar spent on this critical infrastructure improvement, 5.5 dollars will be returned in benefits to the nation, the Corps’ studies showed.

“This study has been a model of collaboration among a wide array of stakeholders – at local, state, and federal levels,” said Major General Todd Semonite, commander of the Corps of Engineers’ South Atlantic Division. “It has been a great pleasure to be on this team as it worked diligently through difficult issues to come up with a plan which balances the complex engineering, economic, and environmental aspects of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. It is an impressive achievement.”

During a press conference, the USACE announced that the SHEP will increase the depth of the Savannah River by an additional five feet to 47 feet at mean low water. “We all know how critical this extra depth is to the ability of our nation to move cargo efficiently,” said Curtis Foltz, GPA’s Executive Director. “The depth, along with an average seven foot tide, strikes the right balance between the needs of our industry and the environment of the Savannah River. Nearly 40 percent of the project cost is dedicated to environmental mitigation, preservation of cultural resources or the improvements to river access for the public.” 

Elected officials and business leaders throughout the region heralded the news today (please see quotes below) as a critical step forward in attracting investment and retaining jobs and business. “Today’s announcement brings to an end 15 years of exhaustive due diligence,” said Alec Poitevint, GPA’s Chairman of the Board. “With this important step forward, we are closer to putting in place infrastructure that will create economic opportunities across many industries and state lines. Companies relocate to and expand in the Southeastern United States knowing that the Port of Savannah is the fourth busiest and single largest container terminal in the U.S.”

Col. Jeff Hall, commander of the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz announce the USACE's release of the final documents for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) for review by state and federal agencies and the general public.

During the news conference, Corps leaders urged the general public to communicate their support for the project to leadership throughout the country. Additional information regarding the details off the SHEP can be found at www.sas.usace.ary.mil/SHEP.

For more information: http://www.gaports.com/


In Their Own Words…

Rick Gabrielson, Director of International Transportation, Target and President of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation
“The Port of Savannah is a vital part of the supply chain for Target and many other companies. The announcement that Savannah's harbor deepening has taken an important step toward construction is great news for the U.S. economy, Target and our guests.” 

Samuel Gregory, Chairman, Jasper County Council, South Carolina
"We are pleased to see the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project continue to proceed.  The success of the port is critical to jobs in our county and surrounding areas.  We hope to see this project completed as soon as possible and ultimately, we very much want to see a successful port of our own in Jasper County to compliment the ports of Savannah and Charleston." 

Jerry Bridges, Chairman of the Board, American Association of Port Authorities
“When the Panama Canal is completed in 2014, it is critical that the East Coast be prepared to serve larger vessels. The efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Ports Authority to advance its deepening project in Savannah is good news for commerce and international trade. For the U.S. to become increasingly competitive in the international marketplace it is critical that we deepen our harbors."

Bronco Bostick, Mayor of Hardeeville, South Carolina
"The Port of Savannah supports hundreds of jobs in the LowCountry of South Carolina. Without the port and its continued growth, our unemployment rate would be much higher. We need the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to be completed to insure the long-term success of the port and improved economic development in our region. This project is good for both Georgia and South Carolina."

Kim Statler, Executive Director, South Carolina LowCountry Economic Alliance
"The Savannah Port is critical infrastructure as we work to attract new business investment and jobs to the  LowCountry of South Carolina. Being prepared to accommodate post panamax ships in Savannah is a job creation game changer for this region."

Willie Seymore, President, International Longshoremen's Association Local 1414
"This is good news for ILA members and their families who live in both Georgia and South Carolina. Deeper water will keep us competitive and make it possible to deliver economic opportunities to the men and women of the waterfront."

Dexter Muller, Senior Vice President, Greater Memphis Chamber
“The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is significant because it makes the movement of time sensitive goods and materials more efficient and provides reduced time-to-market costs. Because of this unique connection between Memphis and the Port of Savannah, the Greater Memphis Chamber applauds this milestone in the deepening process and encourages the timely completion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.”

Steve Grable, Senior Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle
“This is great news for our region. We know that companies that are considering moving to the Southeast are paying close attention to this process. They will be encouraged today by this crucial next step for our country's single largest container terminal.”

J. Randy Jackson, Vice President of Human Resources and Administration, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc.
“The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is an important part of continuing the growth of Georgia’s current and future industries. At Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, we’ve experienced the value of this port firsthand and realize how critical of a resource this is for the state. This project will benefit KMMG and our suppliers, which combined, employ more than 10,500 in this region alone.”

James H. Sumner, President, USAPEEC
“The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) continues to be a strong advocate and supporter of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. It’s no coincidence that Savannah is America’s single largest gateway for poultry exports and that Georgia is the nation’s leading producer of chicken. The strategic location of the Georgia Ports has helped to empower Georgia to be one of the largest exporters of poultry, benefiting the entire U.S. industry. The importance of the Savannah Harbor Expansion project was made apparent during USAPEEC’s recent international marketing conference in Panama. We saw firsthand the importance of the canal to global commerce and we witnessed that progress is on schedule for its expansion by 2014. The Port of Savannah needs to be ready for the Post-Panamax containerships as they begin transiting the Canal by being able to accept these deep-draught vessels. As we often explain, 96 percent of our consumers live outside the United States. To miss this opportunity would be unthinkable.”

Tom France, Director, Global Transportation, Caterpillar
"As one of the largest exporters in the United States, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is critical to Caterpillar by providing world class infrastructure to a cost effective and high velocity port. Like other needed transportation infrastructure investment in the United States, this project is crucial in providing supply chain efficiencies that create jobs and enable us to remain competitive in world markets."

Dr. Robert E. Martínez, Vice President Business Development, Norfolk Southern Corporation
“The Savannah harbor deepening project is critical to the economic well-being not only of Georgia, but of the entire Southeast. Norfolk Southern is greatly encouraged to see this action taken by the Corps of Engineers. Completion of this project will contribute substantially to maintaining a vibrant and competitive port in a key region of our country.”

Bill Clement, Vice President, Intermodal, CSX Transportation
“The Georgia Ports Authority’s Savannah Harbor Project is a great example of enabling efficient global supply chain solutions for the future.  We look forward to seeing this infrastructure project come to fruition as it will increase capacity and support expansion, significantly benefitting shippers, the freight community, and U.S. commerce.”

Steve McWilliams, President, Georgia Forestry Association
“A vibrant, modern port that can meet the current and future  demands of ocean-going commerce is critical to the state’s forest product industries. That is why the Georgia Forestry Association signed on as a SHEP Ally. The economic well-being of many Georgia communities and thousands of Georgia jobs depend to a great extent on access to global markets for Georgia timber and forest-related products. Deepening the Savannah Harbor must be a priority and the citizens and businesses of the state must step up and do their part to keep one of the state’s most robust economic engines growing.”

Terry L. Bunch, Director, Logistics and Customer Service, Rayonier
"A crucial project for the competitiveness of the US took a major step forward today. The deepening of the Savannah harbor is critically important for our company and all companies engaged in global trade."

Vito J. Ciaccia, Director, International Distribution Operations, International Paper
“Congratulations to the Georgia Ports Authority on this momentous announcement. International Paper depends on our port partners to help facilitate our export program.  Infrastructure improvements such as the SHEP project are key facets in this strategy. This SHEP announcement gives us the confidence that the Savannah port will be there for International Paper far into the future.”

Mark Holifield, Senior Vice President – Supply Chain, The Home Depot
“Global shippers, such as retailers and manufacturers, will migrate to the most efficient and expedient options as a matter of necessity, so the Savannah port expansion is absolutely critical for Georgia to maintain its standing as one of the world’s most important shipping corridors for the years to come.”

Mike Mabry, Executive Vice President, Logistics and Distribution, Lowe’s
“As one of the largest customers of the Port of Savannah, we support the port’s efforts to improve the efficiency of port operations. With the completion of the SHEP, Lowe’s will be able to get products to our customers faster and more efficiently.”

Fred Cox, International Logistics, JBS, USA, Swift Beef Company, Swift Pork Company & Pilgrim's
“We are very pleased to see that needed investments in port infrastructure such as SHEP are moving forward. The deepening of our ports to accommodate larger vessels that offer more cost efficient movement of cargo and economies of scale will continue to help drive costs from the supply chain and further support our ability to sustain growth in our exports.”

Fabio Freccia, General Manager of Logistics, Volkswagen Group of America
“As Volkswagen AG continues its quest as the world’s number one auto manufacturer, Volkswagen Group of America will continue growing here in the Southeast. We support the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project  (SHEP). It will provide not only VW but other manufactures the access of larger vessels as well as supply chain enhancements for one the fast growing industrial regions in the United States.”

Stephen W. White, Chief Logistics Officer, Dollar Tree, Inc.
"The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is a critical component of increasing the efficiencies of our country's supply chain infrastructure by leveraging the economies of scale associated with the larger vessels transiting the Suez Canal today and the Panama Canal in 2014."

Klaus Schnede, Manager Marine, Air and Facilities Procurement, Eastman Chemical Company
“Eastman Chemical Company is excited to hear about the next, significant step in harbor deepening efforts for the Georgia Ports Authority. In order to remain competitive for shipments into export markets around the world, this project needs to be finished as soon as possible. Bigger ships mean less per unit cost which will benefit both exporters and importers to remain competitive in today’s global markets.”

Al Gebhardt, Vice President, North America Liner Operations, Maersk Line Agency
“The deepening of the Savannah harbor is a critical step to ensure competitive access to the Southeastern U.S. for our industry, and we are encouraged to see this action taken by the Corps of Engineers.”

Frank J. Baragona, President, CMA CGM (America) LLC
“CMA CGM is pleased to announce our support on behalf of the GPA in their efforts to deepen the Savannah River channel in order to accommodate larger new generation class container vessels.” 

Christopher J. Parvin, Vice President, Marine Operations, Mediterranean Shipping Company
“MSC, welcomes the news of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Plan. We need deep water at all US Ports to handle the vessels that are already calling today on the East and Gulf Coasts to insure that we have an efficient and cost effective transportation network for our industry, the Southeast region, and the nation.”
F. Gray Carter, Vice President, Purchasing & Logistics, Buckeye Technologies Inc
“As a major exporter of goods manufactured in the southern United States, we are pleased that the Savannah River expansion will allow Savannah to remain a vital port for both inbound and outbound shipments. Enabling the larger class ocean vessels of the future will ensure the port remains both competitive and relevant in our global economy.”

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss
“Today’s announcement marks a vital milestone in the ongoing process of deepening the Port of Savannah. This project is critically important to...