Perdue Announces Ports Expansion, Comments on Van Plant - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/29/03

Perdue Announces Ports Expansion, Comments on Van Plant

Gov. Sonny Perdue in Savannah today. Gov. Sonny Perdue in Savannah today.

It's a landmark day at the Georgia Ports Authority. For the first time ever, the ports have handled 1.5 million containers in one year. But that's not all. Gov. Sonny Perdue made a special trip to Savannah to announce a brand new container berth. The new berth will increase the ports capacity by 20 percent, which is good news for businesses and residents, as 11,000 new jobs will be created by the expansion.

Container berth number eight was a big drawing point for DaimlerChrysler, and still leaves the governor and other politicians looking toward the future. They say they are still thinking positive and communicating with the people at DaimlerChrysler each week. The state says it will leave the final announcement to the people that head up the corporation.

Continued construction at the DaimlerChrysler site and a new container berth being built at the Georgia Port paints a pretty picture for the automaker, despite the recent announcement there had been no decision on plans to build a plant in Pooler.

"We're in ongoing discussions with them now, we think it's a timing issue," said Perdue.

Gov. Perdue is not the only one having discussions with the corporate giant. US Senator Max Burns (R-Ga. Dist. 12) told us, "When I talk to them--and I talk to the folks from DaimlerChrysler weekly--they're still very positive."

Gov. Perdue says he also remains optimistic about an announcement to build the plant. "We anticipate sometime soon, but that's a company announcement and we look forward to that." But when does the waiting game become too long, and when will the state have to let other corporations look at the site?

"Those are confidential types of negotiations and discussions that are not discussed publicly, it's business," said the governor.

But the one thing Gov. Perdue and Congressman Burns will say about DaimlerChrysler is that it's a matter of getting the economy back on track before we hear anything.

"It's an issue of timing, an issue of a global economy, which is beginning to show some signs of growth," said Burns.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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