Luncheon held to discuss the state, future of the ports - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Luncheon held to discuss the state, future of the ports

JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) -

The Jasper County Chamber of Commerce along with the Georgia and South Carolina Port Authorities hosted a luncheon Monday afternoon to discuss the state of the ports in Savannah and Charleston. Also, to give an update on the future port that will be constructed in Jasper County.

In November, the “okay” was given to go ahead with the agreement between the port authorities and Jasper County.

The closest port in Savannah and Charleston are almost at 80 percent capacity, which means they won't be able to handle additional cargo or ships. That’s why the Jasper Ocean Terminal is so essential.

Ideally, it will be in the area right before the Talmadge Bridge on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River. One concern is because the Charleston and Savannah ports are older is that they may not be equipped to handle newer, modern and larger ships that will be using the ports.

So the Jasper County Ocean Terminal will help accommodate those large vessels. The county and ports authority also expects the port to create an economic impact that will span farther than just Jasper County.

"It’s phenomenal what the impact will be. You’re talking about $4.5 billion project that will create jobs both indirect and direct of over a million. So not only locally and regionally but also the entire east coast. There have been economic studies that reach out to as far as Tennessee, so we've created one of the largest economic engines on record for the entire nation,” said Jasper County Council Chairman Martin Sauls IV.

The county estimates that close to one million jobs will be generated from the terminal, as well as an additional $9 billion for the local economy. Economic studies show that the terminal will have an impact outside of the Lowcountry, and could even be a benefit for states as far away as Tennessee.

We won't see the Phase 1 completed for about another 10 years, but the chairman of the county council explained the next steps.

"The next steps will be through the Army Corps of Engineering working towards that permit through the environmental impact studies and things of that nature that goes along with site design, environmental assessment, dredging of the Savannah River, construction of the site, transportation and logistics issues, our road systems,” said Sauls. 

The county is hoping that Phase 1 of the terminal be completed within the next 10 years. Right now costs for the terminal are unknown, but will be commensurate with its design which is still in the early stages.

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