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Director says ports do create jobs
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Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz addressed business leaders last week at the second annual Atlanta state of the port event. He discussed the importance of Georgia’s deepwater ports in Savannah and Brunswick to the metro Atlanta area.
“As one of our state’s strongest economic engines, Georgia’s deepwater ports connect our state to the world, generating growth and opportunities for all Georgians,” Foltz said. “I am proud to report the GPA continues to maintain and create jobs for Georgia, even during times of economic uncertainty.”
The GPA handled more than 2.63 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in fiscal year 2010 (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010), which was an increase of 9.7 percent compared with the previous fiscal year. Overall, the GPA posted its best year ever for exports in fiscal year 2010.
“The strengths of Georgia’s regional economies create many opportunities for our state,” said Georgia Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer George Israel. “The diversity provided by regions like metro Atlanta drive growth in a good economy and reduce the impacts of a recession.”
During Foltz’s presentation, he released a new fiscal year 2010 cargo value report for metro Atlanta, which showed more than $8 billion was shipped through the Port of Savannah. This means significant business, economic opportunity and jobs for the Savannah-area economy.
Foltz highlighted six port customers that chose to locate or expand in Georgia in fiscal year 2010, due to its superior logistics and transportation system. The companies, representing more than 3,800 new jobs in the metro Atlanta area, include: The Clorox Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, General Mills, Kubota Tractor Corporation, NCR Corporation and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
“These new announcements and jobs created during a difficult economy are the result of Georgia’s premier ability to move cargo through the most efficient and effective logistics network in the Southeast,” said GPA Chairman of the Board Alec L. Poitevint. “Georgia’s deepwater ports are one of the brightest spots in the Georgia economy right now.”
According to the executive director of Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Logistics, Page Siplon, “Logistics and transportation infrastructure can be found in every state, but Georgia sets itself apart from the pack with a prime geographical Southeast location anchored by the fourth largest seaport in the United States.”
The single most important factor for the Port of Savannah’s future success remains the completion of the Savannah Harbor expansion project. Without additional channel depth to Garden City Terminal, the larger ships that have already begun calling on the port will not be able to trade here efficiently.
“Increasing activity at the Port of Savannah, particularly after the upcoming expansion of the Panama Canal, is expected to positively impact Atlanta’s industrial market in the coming years as distributors require additional space to accommodate new growth,” Poitevint said.
The GPA has been working with federal and state officials on the project to deepen the river up to 48 feet mean low water. This new depth will open the state to the new, larger vessels calling U.S. East Coast ports following the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014.
Earlier this year, University of Georgia released a study that shows Georgia’s deepwater ports support more than 295,000 jobs throughout the state during fiscal year 2009, which was an increase of 9,000 jobs in retail, transportation and logistics industries.
“Transportation and logistics providers throughout the state are essential to the efficient flow of cargo throughout Georgia,” Foltz said. “These important job generators are located in every corner of our state and make up the difference between profit and loss for many businesses.”

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