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On Monday, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) announced its ports in Savannah and Brunswick registered record volumes in 2011. The ports handled 26.1 million tons of cargo, up 4.3 percent compared with 2010 volumes.
In terms of container volume, the Savannah port handled a record 2.95 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 3.5 percent year over year. The Brunswick port handled a record 495,000 auto and machinery units, a 23 percent increase.
The authority’s position as the nation’s No. 2 export port “provides a clear and compelling case” for advancing the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), said GPA Chairman Alec Poitevint in a prepared statement. The Savannah port, which is served by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway, is the nation’s fourth-largest container port and needs to accommodate larger ships to prepare for the Panama Canal expansion in 2014, according to the GPA. SHEP calls for deepening the harbor’s depth from 42 foot to as much as 48 feet.
Work to deepen Savannah Harbor “is precisely the type of effort that will bring sustainable economic recovery to the United States,” said Poitevint.
Last year, the GPA finalized the SHEP study and moved the project toward construction. The project has secured $134 million in state funds and Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed an additional $46.7 million.
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