Harbor deepening funds a huge win
Return on investment is the driving force behind financial decisions successful businesses make. Finally, it looks like our federal government is starting to operate this way too. We’ve been trying to deepen the Port of Savannah five feet for 19 years, and it took a business guy in the White House to help get it done.
Last week, it was announced the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) will receive the federal funding it needs to stay on track. This announcement is a huge win for Georgia and will yield a significant return on investment.
Why is that?
Growth. The Port of Savannah is the fourth largest, and fastest growing, port in the entire country. Once completed, SHEP will contribute $282 million to our economy every single year.
Jobs. Georgia’s ports support over 439,000 jobs around the state.
Volume. The Savannah port is the busiest container port in the Southeast. Over 4 million cargo containers are on track to be moved by the end of the year.
Infrastructure. The GPA laid the groundwork we need to expand the Savannah port’s reach. In March, they brought online a neo-Panamax crane. In the same month, they broke ground on the Mason Mega Rail Terminal. This $126.7 million investment will double the Port’s rail lift capacity to 1 million containers annually and help open new markets from Tennessee to Missouri to Illinois to Ohio.
The economic return here is obvious. Out of all port projects around the country, SHEP has the best benefit to cost ratio: 7.3 to 1. The Panamax ships used at the Savannah port are three times the size of traditional ships, with much lower costs per unit. When the port is deepened, these ships will be able to nearly double the volume they transport today.
Georgia has recognized this for a while and has already paid their share and more. The federal government’s investment has been overdue. The consequences of a lower federal investment are delays and hundreds of millions in additional costs to taxpayers. President Donald Trump knows all of that, which is why the project is back on track.
SHEP is Georgia’s top infrastructure project and will help our country compete globally. This was one of my top personal priorities when I ran for the United States Senate in 2014, and its full funding for this year is a huge win for Georgia and our nation.