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Friday, March 9, 2012 - 11:53am

OneGeorgia Grant Buys Port Crane

The Port of Savannah will get a new heavy-lift crane after Savannah economic development officials received a grant from the state. It’s one of five economic development projects getting $7.5 million this year from the OneGeorgia Authority.

Savannah economic development officials will use $3 million to buy a floating crane capable of lifting a million pounds. A Mitsubishi steam and gas turbine facility is supposed to create 500 jobs, but the Savannah port can’t move the large machines it will produce without the crane.

“The acquisition of the 500-ton capacity barge crane would actually give us the ability to move that heavy material on and off of cargo ships and trains,” said Jerald Mitchell with the Savannah Economic Development Authority.

He said once the crane is in place, it will potentially benefit other companies too.

“There are not very many ports in the country that have this type of lift capability, so we hope that it’s going to make the state of Georgia, the Georgia Ports Authority and the Savannah area even more attractive to heavy industry,” Mitchell said.

The governor announced a total of $9 million in grants and loans this week.

Another grant will help Hailo USA set up a wind turbine component factory in Elberton with 125 new jobs. There’s also money to help Lowe’s build a regional distribution center near Rome, creating 600 jobs.

Other awards go to Triumph Aerostructures in Milledgeville for expanding its aircraft parts facility and bringing 250 new jobs, and to Pratt and Whitney, which is adding 170 jobs to its airplane engine center in Columbus.

OneGeorgia is also awarding a million dollars in loans and grants for a broadband project in Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties.

The money comes from the 1998 settlement of a tobacco industry lawsuit and is aimed at job-creation and economic development in rural Georgia.

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