Georgia Ports Authority moves forward with inland port development
July 12, 2013
A new inland port agreement signed this week by Governor Nathan Deal, the Georgia Ports Authority and Cordele Intermodal Services will create and expand international markets for regional business.
The agreement, which ensures a direct 200-mile rail route to and from GPA’s Garden City Terminal in Savannah, will serve as a gateway to Southwest Georgia and adjacent regions of Florida and Alabama. The partnership is outlined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
By reducing the number of truck miles into Savannah, the Cordele operation saves on shipping, reduces highway traffic, and provides new service offerings to benefit shippers, truckers and steamship lines.
“The new partnership provides our customers direct access to 38 weekly shipping services, connecting the region to vibrant global export markets,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Additionally, the MOU helps steer a course to better serving the 4 million residents in this region.”
The inland port offers a viable intermodal option to an all-truck-dray to the deepwater port of Savannah for CIS’ target market. This makes Savannah a better option for customers in that region, lowering the cost to take advantage of the port’s broader menu of shipping lines, services and destinations.
Shipping analysts have also noted that shifting some of the labor functions away from longshore unions will result in cost savings.
“Today’s agreement greatly expedites the movement of cargo from this area to the coast,” said State Rep. Buddy Harden, R-Cordele. “Instead of trucks having to make the roundtrip from here to Savannah or Brunswick, drivers can now drop their cargo at the inland port, allowing shorter hauls and more frequent turns.” CIS is located on 40 acres, with an option to expand up to 1,200 acres in the Crisp County Industrial Park. The facility is less than one mile from Interstate 75, Georgia Highway 300 and Georgia Highway 280, and allows direct container rail service to and from the ports of Brunswick and Savannah.
Foltz said the Cordele agreement improves service for an area that constitutes important growth potential, but is already conducting significant port business.
Jonathan Lafevers, president of CIS, added that balanced import-export container trade allows for an efficient use of transportation resources.
“Large shippers in Albany and Tifton, Ga., Montgomery and Mobile, Ala., and Tallahassee, Fla., will benefit from our services,” Lafevers said. “The inland port concept has also generated tremendous interest in the Cordele area from shippers and other logistics-based companies looking to relocate near our facility.”
Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director for the American Association of Port Authorities, noted that inland port development is a significant trend.
“The Port of Virginia has been operating a similar model,” he said. “And we understand that the Port of Canaveral (Fla.) and the South Carolina State Ports Authority is considering this strategy.”
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