Friday, September 18, 2009

Governor Perdue to Visit Panama Canal

Governor Sonny Perdue will lead a state delegation September 23 – 26 to Panama to discuss Panama Canal Expansion and the proposed Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Governor Perdue will be joined by senior leaders of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The trip will include a meeting with the Panama Canal Authority and with Maersk, GPA’s largest customer.

“More than 72 percent of total trade moving through Georgia’s ports transits the Panama Canal,” said Governor Perdue. “The economic engine of the Port of Savannah is directly tied to the Canal. It is the lifeline that feeds our port by bringing jobs and prosperity to not only Georgia but the entire eastern half of the United States.”

As home to the fourth largest U.S. container port in Savannah, the state of Georgia has a great interest in the Panama Canal Expansion. The Georgia Ports Authority has had a strategic partnership with the Panama Canal Authority since 2003, which provides economic benefits to both regions.

The Panama Canal will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2014 with the opening of a new set of locks. The new locks will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships to go through the canal.

In preparation for the expanded canal and larger ships calling on the East Coast, the GPA is working diligently to gain approval on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, designed to deepen the Savannah River up to 48 feet. With an estimated completion date of 2014, the deepened shipping channel will be able to handle the larger vessels that will transit the expanded canal.
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