Sen. David Perdue: Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, Strong Investment for Georgia’s Global Impact

Sen. David Perdue

Friday, September 25th, 2020

To compete in the global economy, America has to have world-class infrastructure. 

As a former Fortune 500 CEO with over 40 years of experience in the business world, I know that a strong return on investment is the key to success. In order to effectively apply this business approach to our infrastructure developments, we must continue reducing regulatory roadblocks and leveraging private sector partnerships.

This month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $22 million grant to widen State Route 96 in middle Georgia. Not only will this help local traffic flow in the area, it will also help our state prepare for increased cargo traffic to and from the Port of Savannah. 

The reason we will have more cargo traffic is because the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is almost complete. This project, which will deepen the Savannah Harbor to allow larger, post-Panamax ships to enter, has an astonishing return on investment. For every dollar spent on this project, it will create $7.30 in economic benefits for our country. It will pump $282 million into our economy every year.

For nearly 20 years, however, career politicians failed to deepen the Port of Savannah just five feet. That is completely unacceptable. 

As an outsider, I realized there was a problem with how things were being run. In 2014, I was sent to the U.S. Senate to help change the direction of our country and shake things up in Washington. Now, we’re making the kinds of important investments that will produce incredible results for our country and boost our economy long-term.

Working with President Trump, we broke through the bureaucracy and made SHEP a top priority. For the last four years, we have secured full federal funding, and as a result, the deepening is on track for completion in 2022. 

I recently toured one of the dredges working around the clock to get this project done. It is incredible how much progress has been made in just a few years.

The Port project comes at a critical time, because Georgia is on the forefront of America’s international trade.

Right now, Georgia’s ports are already some of the most impressive in the country. A record 37.77 million total tons of cargo crossed Georgia ports this year alone. The Port of Savannah is the third busiest and fastest-growing port in the country.

In 2019, Georgia had a record $143.3 billion in trade with the world. Our state’s total trade has gone up 70% over the last decade. Once SHEP is completed, those figures will go up even more, putting money directly into the hands of businesses and boosting paychecks. 

This year, the Port of Savannah exported more containers than any port in the country. It is also the number one exporter of agricultural products in the country. This is huge news for our entire state and solidifies the important role we play nationally.                                                                                                           

As the leading port for exports of agricultural goods, Georgia farmers will reach new consumers and efficiently expand their relationships with the worldwide market. Georgia businesses will be able to sell more products across the globe. Our state’s economy will continue to grow and quality jobs will continue to be created. 

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is a perfect example of what happens when you apply business sense to Washington. While career politicians could not deepen the port just five feet, President Trump and I followed through on our promise and made it happen. By cutting through the gridlock and making this investment today, we are contributing to our country’s global footprint and creating incredible new opportunities for our state for years to come.