Georgia, South Carolina prepare joint port project

Officials in Georgia and South Carolina are preparing to build the $5 billion Jasper Ocean Terminal, which is set to be constructed in South Carolina, just downstream from Savannah, Ga. The Georgia Ports Authority this week approved spending $7.5 million, its share of the costs for environmental studies. South Carolina legislators have already approved that state’s contribution.

Work on the 1,500-acre port will pick up the pace in three years, when the states are expected to begin the project in earnest by spending an additional $50 million to $100 million each for engineering, design and further environmental projects.

The nearby ports of Savannah and Charleston, S.C., also are in the midst of channel-deepening and terminal-expansion projects in anticipation of increased business from the Panama Canal expansion. However, Savannah’s Garden City Terminal is projected to reach its capacity within 15 years. That fact has led officials in both states to back the creation of the new port, which will cost the states at least $4.3 billion. It will feature the central terminal with docks, warehouses and new roads that stretch along the Savannah River.