Doug J. Marchand outlines actions required to sustain the Port of Savannah’s continued success
Doug J. Marchand, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), outlined actions required to achieve continued growth and prosperity for the Port of Savannah during his annual State of the Port speech today, ‘Taking Our Advantages to the Next Level.’
‘As many of you in this room today know, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, or SHEP, is the number one priority for the Georgia Ports Authority,’ Marchand told the audience of 600 maritime and business leaders. ‘When the project receives final approvals, it can be completed by 2012, two years ahead of the Panama Canal expansion project.’
Marchand asked the audience to become involved in the process and help Savannah and the State of Georgia realize the tremendous economic benefits, transportation savings and new jobs that will result from the deepening.
Another action Marchand described as necessary to sustain the Port of Savannah’s continued success was the completion of ‘The Cargo Beltway,’ a series of ‘last-mile’ projects that will allow traffic to move seamlessly to and from the port. ‘When all four projects are complete, a Cargo Beltway will be formed, taking trucks to and from our gates directly onto one of two interstate highways.’
Marchand asked the audience to work closely with industry partners throughout the supply chain to support improvements in the utilization of existing infrastructure. Marchand outlined a series of recent terminal upgrades and the introduction of Saturday and night gates that increase capacity and reduce the threat of congestion. ‘We now have a broader window of time to move cargo into and out of the terminal which in turn eases traffic and improves productivity.’
During his presentation, Marchand reviewed fiscal year 2007 results showing the GPA handled more than 2.3 million teus (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit containers), a 14.5-percent increase. The GPA’s total tonnage for all terminal facilities, including Bainbridge, Brunswick, Columbus and Savannah surpassed 21 million tons, an 8.7-percent increase.
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 275,968 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $10.8 billion in income, $35.4 billion in revenue and some $1.4 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s bustling economy.