The SHEP will increase the depth of the Savannah River by an additional 1.5 metres (five feet) to 14.2 m (47 feet) at mean low water. “The study clearly shows that the deepening of the Savannah port will produce powerful economic benefits to the nation and to Georgia,” said Governor Nathan Deal.
The studies show that the estimated US$652m cost will provide US$174m in annual net benefits to the US nation; for every dollar spent, 5.5 dollars will be returned in benefits to the nation, according to the report.
“We all know how critical this extra depth is to the ability of our nation to move cargo efficiently,” said Curtis Foltz, Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), executive director.
“The depth, along with an average seven foot [2.1 m] tide, strikes the right balance between the needs of our industry and the environment of the Savannah River. Nearly 40% of the project cost is dedicated to environmental mitigation, preservation of cultural resources or the improvements to river access for the public,” he said.
“The announcement brings to an end 15 years of exhaustive due diligence,” said Alec Poitevint, GPA’s Chairman of the Board. “With this important step forward, we are closer to putting in place infrastructure that will create economic opportunities across many industries and state lines. Companies relocate to and expand in the Southeastern United States knowing that the Port of Savannah is the fourth busiest and single largest container terminal in the US.”