Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was among the speakers at a March 25 ceremony held by the Georgia Ports Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Georgia Department of Transportation to mark completion of the Savannah Harbor deepening project.
“This is a great day for the state of Georgia and for the nation,” said Kemp. “The Port of Savannah is the gateway port for our region, and the first choice of businesses serving the U.S. Southeast.”
Dredging for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project started in September 2015, adding five feet in depth to the shipping channel. Initial feasibility studies for the harbor deepening began in 1997.
“After more than 20 years in the making, we are thrilled to mark this accomplishment today,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “A deeper channel means more than just efficient passage for the largest vessels calling the U.S. East Coast. It means continued opportunity, job growth and prosperity for the people of our state.”
$291 MILLION IN ADDED ANNUAL BENEFITS
According to a Corps of Engineers study, the Savannah Harbor deepening project is expected to net more than $291 million in annual benefits to the nation, or approximately $7.70 for every dollar invested in the project.
“The Savannah District is proud to partner with the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Ports Authority in completing the deepening of Savannah Harbor,” said Col. Joseph R. Geary, Commander, Savannah Engineer District. “Complemented by unprecedented remediation efforts, the economic and environmental benefits provided through shipping efficiencies will drive healthy growth in the Southeast for decades to come.”
Deepening the Savannah Harbor to 47 feet at mean low water (the average depth at low tide), provides ample draft for vessels carrying 16,000 TEU container units, allowing ships to transit the river with more containers each trip and during more hours of the day. Savannah’s 7-foot tidal swing means that the water is as deep as 54 feet at high tide.
The deeper water enables ships to load up to approximately 1,000 containers worth of additional cargo, for increased efficiency in vessel transport.