The Georgia Ports Authority Positions Itself as “the East Coast’s Leading Gateway”

The Georgia Ports Authority is taking over the world, Pinky expanding its influence and setting itself up to be “the East Coast leading gateway for containerized cargo.” It’s a title the GPA will share with the Virginia Port Authority, but who’s counting?

On Friday, the Federal Maritime Commission approved the two entitites’ joint application to develop the East Coast Gateway Terminal Agreement, which will allow GPA and VPA to share information regarding cargo handling, staffing, performance, infrastructure, and operational procedures. It also allows GPA and VPA to market their ports together. This agreement does not allow the two to jointly negotiate, set, or approve terminal rates or changes. This is the first agreement of this kind the FMC has approved. Charlie wrote about it back in February, when the deal was submitted for review.

Together, the ports in Savannah and Hampton Roads accounted for 32 percent of East Coast market share in 2016, and they are the second and third largest ports by volume behind the Port of New York and New Jersey. The creation of the East Coast Gateway Terminal Agreement will allow the Georgia and Virginia ports to become more streamlined and therefore capable of taking on a bigger share of cargo coming to the East Coast.

This announcement comes as the Port of Savannah has reached 60 percent completion on the deepening of its Savannah River entrance, which will deepen the inner harbor to 47 feet at low tide and 54 feet at high tide. The Army Corps of Engineers updated its cost estimate for the project in March to $938 million, an increase of 38 percent.

A UGA economic study found that the ports in Georgia are responsible for 1 in 12 jobs in the state.

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