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Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 12:23pm

Georgia Ports: No Cruise Ships Here

Updated: 3 years ago.
Savannah will have to find another place to put cruise ships. The city paid a consultant $50,000 to determine the feasibility of a cruise ship terminal. But his top recommendation for a startup location is the Georgia Ports Authority, which presents several problems. (photo Georgia Ports Authority)

Georgia's ports officials say, they don't think Savannah's working port is the best place to put a temporary cruise ship terminal.

City officials are considering the possibility of a cruise ship terminal to boost tourism.

Any permanent dock would have to be near downtown.

But to get up and running, a cruise industry consultant recently told city officials, Savannah could welcome visitors at the Georgia Ports Authority.

Agency spokesman Robert Morris says, the shipping terminal has too many security and operational concerns to handle cruise lines.

"There was universal support for a cruise ship terminal but not on an existing jobs that is creating jobs and economic development," Morris says. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to eliminate one form of economic development and job growth in order to create another one."

The city paid $50,000 for the feasibility study.

State and private funds paid the rest of the consultant's $129,000 fee.

City spokesman Bret Bell says, the city isn't in a fight with the Georgia Ports Authority.

"We're in the very early stages of this," Bell says. "We want to look at every single site, even if it might not be feasible."

Without a temporary site, Savannah might have to wait longer for an expensive permanent cruise ship terminal near the Historic District.

There are no shortage of ideas on that front.

The most frequently mentioned include the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center on Hutchinson Island and the multi-million-dollar taxpayer-financed riverwalk at the hulking, deserted and stalled private development called Savannah River Landing.

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