Business leaders, lawmakers discuss port deepening

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC/AP) – Deepening the Port of Savannah is being discussed Thursday among business and lawmakers.

They're calling it a critical project to boost economic growth. Attendees include Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake and AJC International Vice Chairman Eric Joiner, who exports chicken meat worldwide.

Port officials want to dredge the Savannah River by six feet to 48 feet, so the port can be used by larger cargo freighters that are expected to pass through the Panama Canal once it's deepened in 2014.

A final decision on whether to deepen the port isn't expected until late next year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a public workshop Dec. 15 on the proposal to deepen the Savannah Harbor to a maximum depth of 48 feet. The session will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Savannah Civic Center.

The workshop is aimed at giving the public a chance to talk with engineers, economists, project managers and others on the harbor deepening, ask questions and submit comments.

Information on the report and workshop can be found online at

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.