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Rail News: Intermodal

Georgia, Florida ports continue to prep for larger ships


The enactment of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 authorizes construction to begin on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), according to the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).

The next step for SHEP calls for the state of Georgia to enter a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine how the project's $706 million cost will be shared between the state and federal governments. A binding PPA could be finalized within 90 days, GPA officials said in a press release.

"A deeper harbor will fully complement the landside infrastructure improvements that are currently under way to increase the Port of Savannah's capacity and improve services throughout our maritime logistics network," said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. "Garden City Terminal now employs 25 of the largest ship-to-shore cranes on the East Coast, 116 rubber-tired gantry cranes, two on-terminal rail yards and, soon, direct highway access from the port to Interstates 95 and 16."

GPA board’s recently approved the $86.5 million purchase of four new Super Post-Panamax cranes and 20 new rubber-tired gantry cranes, which are scheduled to start arriving at the Savannah port in 2016. Efficiencies will enable the GPA to more than double its annual throughput to 6.5 million containers without increasing the physical footprint of the 1,200-acre Garden City Terminal, said Foltz.  

Meanwhile, the Port of Tampa Bay last week announced that Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s signing of a funding package will help the port purchase new Post-Panamax cranes to expand throughput capacity at its container terminal.

About $12 million in state funds will be used to purchase the cranes, which will help capture cargo that has been handled by out-of-state ports and accommodate larger container vessels, port officials said in a press release.

"This funding is consistent with the governor’s tremendous strategic vision of investment in our state’s seaport infrastructure to strengthen our state’s competitiveness and role as a global gateway for trade," said Paul Anderson, the port's president and chief executive officer.

The state has provided $582 million the past three years for port improvements. A 2014-15 budget plan includes another $139 million for more than 20 port projects in Florida.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/11/2014