The state of Georgia has committed $181.1 million for the project, which is expected to cost $652 million. The port is served by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway.
"Very few federal infrastructure projects yield $5.50 for every dollar invested, so taxpayers will receive a handsome return on the Savannah harbor expansion," said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in a prepared statement.
The Panama Canal expansion, which is slated for completion in 2015, will accommodate larger container ships. Corps of Engineers studies show that post-panamax-size vessels more efficiently served by a deeper harbor will lower shipping costs for containerized trade by $174 million a year over the next 50 years, for a total economic benefit of $8.7 billion during that span, GPA officials said.
"The Panama expansion is expected to increase the number of these larger ships calling on the U.S. East Coast, so it is vital that our ports prepare for this new class of vessels," GPA Vice Chairman Steve Green.
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