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Study: Ports among state's economic engines

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POSTED: April 28, 2007 5:04 a.m.
ATHENS — In fiscal year 2006, Georgia’s deepwater port activity directly and indirectly supported 286,476 jobs and was responsible for $55.8 billion in sales, $14.9 billion in income and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes, according to a new study released by the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
“Continued emphasis on the ports as a pillar of our state’s economy translates into jobs, higher incomes, greater production of goods and services and revenue collections at all levels of government,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said. “This report demonstrates that Georgia’s deepwater ports are thriving and will continue to generate even more substantial economic impacts in future fiscal years.”
For fiscal year 2006, taking into account an adjustment for inflation, the port’s output impact is 44 percent higher, its gross state product is 32 percent higher and its labor income impact is 26 percent higher than a similar study that was conducted for FY2003, according to Jeffrey M. Humphreys, the report’s author and director of the Terry College’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.
“Deepwater ports are one of Georgia’s strongest economic engines, fostering the development of virtually every industry year after year,” Humphreys said. “The ports are especially supportive of other forms of transportation, manufacturing, and wholesale/distribution centers.”
The study, titled “The Economic Impact of Georgia’s Deepwater Ports in Georgia’s Economy in FY 2006,” estimates the direct, indirect, induced and total economic impacts of Georgia’s ports. Port users were also surveyed to determine the degree to which they depend on Georgia’s deepwater ports.
Between 2000 and 2005 alone, the Port of Savannah was the nation’s fastest growing port with a compounded annual growth rate of 16.5 percent, while the national average was 9.7 percent.
The state’s other deepwater port is in Brunswick and, together, they are credited with helping Liberty County land two distribution centers in its Tradeport Business Center, which is on I-95 between the two ports and is named to associated it with the ports.
“Georgia’s deepwater ports’ strong competitive advantages have expanded Georgia’s market share,” Mack Mattingly, former U.S. senator and current chairman of GPA’s board of directors, said. “These advantages are largely the result of strategic investments in port facilities by the State of Georgia over many years.”
Investments include updating ports infrastructure and purchasing state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment.
 

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