Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Jasper container terminal may open later than 2029
The Savannah River container terminal, a $5 million project being jointly built by the states of Georgia and South Carolina, may not be needed as soon as previously thought due to the global economic slowdown.
The Jasper Ocean Terminal, located down from Savannah on the South Carolina side of the river, was slotted to be complete by 2029, when it was assumed that container capacity at rival ports in Georgia and at South Carolina's Port of Charleston would be totally consumed and the need would be great.
The joint Jasper terminal board discussed the fiscal viability of the new terminal at a meeting on Monday, where they were updated on the progress of a 2008 feasibility study that will be completed next year. They were told the Southeast remains a fast-growing area of the nation.
"What has changed a bit is the speed at which China is losing its competitive position as the world's largest manufacturer as well as the fact that U.S. consumers haven't recovered half as well as we would have liked after 2009," said Walter Kemmsies, the chief economist at Moffat and Nichols, a consulting firm helping to plan the new terminal with the board.
The board agreed to proceed with the study, which gauges the capacity of the Savannah River to handle larger ships after completion of the Panama Canal in 2015.
"I can't really say precisely how soon the terminal will be open. We'll open it as soon as there's justification," said board chairman Jim Balloun of Georgia, adding money won't be spent on construction until the project is considered viable. Just when the terminal might be open "will come into focus over the next five to 10 years," he said.
For more of the Businessweek story: businessweek.com
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