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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal joined Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) officials late last week in announcing record cargo volumes for fiscal-year 2017 and new infrastructure development plans. In a review of the ports' work in FY2017, Deal announced growth of 8.3 percent in total tonnage across all terminals. Savannah handled 3.85 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs), while Brunswick moved 607,000 auto and machinery units. No other Southeast port recorded greater volumes for those commodities, Deal said in a press release. FY2017 covers the period from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. In his state-of-the-ports speech, GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch announced two significant e-commerce developments: National furniture supplier Noble House will build a 630,000 square-foot facility that will serve the eastern United States, while home accessory company Best Choice will build 345,000 square feet. Those plans are in addition to 3 million square feet of distribution center space completed within the last year and 5.2 million square feet now under construction, GPA officials said. Lynch also outlined plans to accommodate record growth and expand new markets. Those plans include:• a $128 million mega-rail project that will add track on terminal to better handle 10,000-foot-long trains. To start in the first quarter of FY2018 and conclude at 2020’s end, the project calls for adding 97,000 feet of new track, including 18 new working tracks, and bringing all switching operations to the Garden City Terminal;• ground-breaking in FY2017 of the Appalachian Regional Port, an inland rail yard in Chatsworth. To be completed in fall 2018, the CSX-served inland port is designed to expand the GPA’s reach into Tennessee, northeast Alabama and portions of Kentucky; and• the Savannah Harbor expansion project, which will deepen the outer harbor to 49 feet at low tide and 56 feet at high tide. The project also will deepen the inner harbor to 47 feet.
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