ACP and Georgia Ports Authority DISCUSS EXPANSION PLANS
PANAMA CITY, Panama, September 24, 2009 – Today, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) welcomed Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and senior leaders from the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and Georgia Department for Economic Development for a tour and presentation on the Panama Canal Expansion Program. During the visit, ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta updated the Governor and his delegation on the historic widening of the waterway and the anticipated mutual benefits it will bring to Panama and Georgia.
“The ACP is making steady headway on expansion, which will ultimately build a new lane of traffic along the Canal,” said Mr. Alemán Zubieta. “We are progressing on-time and on-budget; the expanded Canal will facilitate the traffic of longer, wider ships to the East Coast of the United States, including the state of Georgia. It is crucial that Georgia’s ports are able to accommodate this increased cargo volume and larger vessels and we fully support their efforts to do so.”
“The Port of Savannah is one of the largest economic engines in our region and is directly tied to the success of the Panama Canal,” said Governor Perdue. “It is the lifeline that feeds our port by bringing jobs and prosperity not only to Georgia but the entire eastern half of the United States. With increased depth the new post-Panamax ships will safely call on the Port of Savannah and will improve the bottom line for exporters, importers, consumers and the entire Southeastern economy.”
GPA Chief Operating Officer Curtis Foltz spoke about the GPA’s plans to deepen the Savannah River from 42 to 48 feet – the largest civil works project in the history of the region. According to Mr. Foltz, more than 50 percent of container ships headed for Savannah can’t carry full loads at all tides, forcing vessels to come in light-loaded or sail in with the tide. By deepening the Savannah River, the port of Savannah will increase its capacity and help secure its position as the fourth largest container port in the United States.
“The success of our business at the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) is tied directly to the Panama Canal’s ability to move our cargo throughout the world,” said Foltz. “In an effort to complement the Panama Canal’s Expansion program, we are increasing capacity at the Port of Savannah and working diligently to gain approval of the SHEP. The completion of these two expansion projects will enable the GPA to expand its trade lanes, providing more opportunities for Georgia and the Southeast.”
The ACP and GPA first established a partnership in June 2003 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As part of the MOU, the ACP and GPA agreed to conduct joint marketing efforts, exchange data, market research and share information on expansion plans and training and technological developments. The partnership has provided significant economic benefits to both the ACP and GPA with 72 percent of total container trade moving through Georgia’s ports transiting the Panama Canal. Last September, the ACP and GPA renewed the MOU for an additional three years, signifying future growth between the two entities.
About the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA)
Facilitating global trade through strategic U.S. East Coast gateways, the GPA is a leader in the operation of modern terminals and in meeting the demands of international business. Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 275,968 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $10.8 billion in income, $35.4 billion in revenue and some $1.4 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. For more information, please refer to the GPA’s Web site: http://www.gaports.com/.
About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: http://www.pancanal.com/.