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Friday, December 21, 2012 - 12:01pm

Port Strike Would Hurt GA's Economy

The executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority says it is looking more likely that there will be a longshoremen’s strike against 15 ports along the east coast. That could have a ripple effect on businesses across the state.

Talks between shipping companies and the dockworkers union broke off on Tuesday. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, a strike will begin after midnight December 30th.

Curtis Foltz, head of the Georgia Ports Authority, says that would close down the Garden City container terminal in Savannah, leading to a ripple effect across the state.

“Our container business represents, oh between 75 and 80 percent of all of our port-related business throughout the state. So when you think of the 350 thousand plus jobs that are tied to port-related activity, really touching each and every county of the state.” he says.

Foltz says that would shut down Georgia’s container port, which does about 75 to 80 percent of the state’s port-related business.

He says “We’re really talking about the Garden City container terminal in Savannah. Our ocean terminal facility in Savannah that works general cargo should continue to be open for business. And we expect that our port facilities in Brunswick should not be affected by this strike.”

Rajiv Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State, says the strike would come at the worst possible time.

He says “If this strike happens while we’re going through a fiscal cliff, it just adds to the problem. Any negative usually can be handled when the economy is growing very well. When the economy is about to have a problem, then these kind of things become a bit more problematic.”

He says a strike would hurt Georgia’s manufacturers who export their goods.

“That would mostly be manufacturing, airplane makers, other transportation goods, wood pulp and paper. So those kind of companies will have trouble.”says Dhawan.

He says if a strike goes on more than a month, that could seriously impact Georgia’s economy.

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