South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says, she was misinterpreted last year when she seemed to soothe opponents of Savannah harbor deepening. Some South Carolinians see Savannah's proposed port expansion as a threat to Charleston's port. Her words last year came up this week when reporters asked her about a permit South Carolina recently gave to Georgia's project.
Tourism and retail spending are boosting Savannah's economy, but those are the only positive signs in a third quarter economic report. Armstrong Atlantic State University's Center for Regional Analysis released its quarterly forecast this week. Center director Michael Toma says, out of seven economic trends the forecast tracks, only hotel stays and retail recepts posted gains.
Environmental regulators for South Carolina have denied a permit sought by the Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the river channel to Savannah's booming seaport in Georgia. Officials said in documents filed late Friday that the plan to dredge the bottom of the Savannah River would cause unacceptable harm to its water quality.
It'll be another year before the Georgia Ports Authority can expect major funding for a long-sought Savannah harbor deepening project. The agency's director says, given the project and budget timelines, the best Georgia can hope for in the budget now before Congress is $600,000 requested by President Obama. That's enough to keep the project going but far less than the $100 million needed to start construction.
Georgia wants millions in federal dollars to deepen Savannah harbor. Georgia officials believe the project that has significance not just for the state, but for the whole nation. But other states want the money, too. Right now, however, the nation has no national strategy for determining where taxpayer dollars would be best spent.
Georgia Ports Authority has signed an agreement with a Canadian firm to upgrade the Port of Brunswick. The Logistec Corporation will spend $5 million to deepen container berths and improve the facility that handles wood pellets. Ports spokesman Robert Morris says, the Brunswick port is close to customers making and exporting wood pellets from the heart of Georgia's timber land.
Officials working to build a jointly-run Georgia and South Carolina port on the Savannah River will spend the next year looking at what to do with the river's sediment. The dredged clay will come from the bottom of the Savannah River and will be put on the river's South Carolina bank where officials want to build the shared port.
Savannah's booming seaport has set another record for the amount of cargo moving through its gates after posting double-digit growth in the past 12 months. Georgia Ports Authority executive director Curtis Foltz announced Monday that Savannah's port handled 2.9 million containers of imports and exports in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That's an 11 percent increase from fiscal 2010. It's also a record for Savannah, beating the port's previous peak in 2008 by about 240,000 containers.
Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed are scheduled to be in Washington Wednesday. The bipartisan duo will be lobbying for more funds for the Savannah harbor deepening project. President Obama's most recent budget included a only small sliver of the $100 million dollars port officials want.
Georgia's ports officials have serious concerns about the possibility of a cruise ship terminal at their Savannah dock. The city recently paid a consultant $50,000 to create a feasibility study on how Savannah could start welcoming cruise ships. The study's top recommendation was a temporary cruise ship terminal at the Georgia Ports Authority.