Mon., December 27, 2010 4:00am (EST)

After Deepening, Georgia Wants New Port
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
The Jasper Ocean Terminal would be located downstream of Savannah's historic waterfront.  (photo Georgia Ports Authority)
The Jasper Ocean Terminal would be located downstream of Savannah's historic waterfront. (photo Georgia Ports Authority)
State lawmakers could take up legislation in the upcoming General Assembly dealing with Savannah harbor deepening.

But there's also another port-related project waiting in the wings that officials want action on.

Georgia and South Carolina have yet to work out how the two states jointly will run the Jasper Ocean Terminal.

That's a brand new port that officials from the two states want to build on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.

The two states' legislatures have yet to work out a governing agreement.

Jim Balloun chairs a joint panel that's pushing the project, which has been championed by the states' outgoing governors.

"So we need time for our new governors to get satisfied with the work we've done and that'll take a little time. But, I see no reason we can't be open for business in 2025," Balloun says. "Whether they pass [a governing agreement] this year or next year will be their choice. And either way would be workable from the perspective of the timing of the port."

Balloun says, the project is timed to open when officials believe the region's ports will have run out of capacity, even with expansion projects like harbor deepening, which officials consider much more urgent.

And while 2025 is long way off, Savannah harbor deepening has taken 14 years and is still not completely worked out.