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Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 10:39am

Jasper Port Could Seek Permits In 2012

A consultant working for the half-billion-dollar port being developed jointly by Georgia and South Carolina says, the project could get its permits as early as 2012.

The early timeline pleases local officials.

The California-based consultant, David Sanborn of Moffat & Nichol, also said that the Jasper Ocean Terminal, on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River, could begin its early phase operations by the year 2025.

Jasper County South Carolina administrator Andrew Fulgham says, that might seem like a long way off, but the new timeline is actually an encouraging step.

"A lot of local folks have seen this go on for a long time, but, it hasn't been that long of a time that it's been a bi-state project," Fulgham says. "There's often a lot of competition between the two entities but we see it as an issue that needs to be resolved or we will not lose -- one state losing and one state winning -- but we will lose as a two state entity."

Officials in Jasper County, within eyesight of the lucrative Georgia ports, have long sought a port of their own.

In 2007, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford set aside long-standing suspicions and agreed to develop a port jointly.

Once built, the bi-state port could rival the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and is expected to greatly boost the economies in both states.

The consultant made his comments at a meeting of the bi-state commission overseeing the port's development.