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UGA study: Georgia Ports support more than 439,000 jobs

58,700 jobs in coastal region related to port

POSTED: April 4, 2018 10:02 a.m.
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A worker unloads a breakbulk vessel at the Georgia Ports Authority’s Ocean Terminal recently in Savannah. Port activity in Georgia supports more than 439,000 jobs across the state.

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Georgia's ports support 439,220 full- and part-time jobs across the state, including 58,700 jobs in the coastal region, according to a study released by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at UGA's Terry College of Business.

The Georgia Ports Authority board reviewed the study's findings at its meeting recently. The latest figure is based on Fiscal Year 2017 impacts and represents an increase of 70,000 jobs (up 19 percent) compared to the previous report covering FY2014.

Georgia ports now account for 9 percent of total state employment, or one out of 11 jobs. Personal income derived from port-supported jobs totaled $25 billion statewide in FY2017.

"The deepwater ports of Savannah and Brunswick are strong drivers of economic and employment opportunity across the state," said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch. "Bringing jobs and investment to Georgia is a central part of GPA's mission."

Port-related jobs across the coastal region total 58,741, which includes 1,083 in Bryan County; 4,436 in Bulloch; 1,307 in Camden; 39,025 in Chatham; 2,386 in Effingham; 5,566 in Glynn; 4,306 in Liberty; 107 in Long; 202 in McIntosh; and 324 in Screven.

According to the report, authored by Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, port activity accounted for 11 percent of Georgia's total sales in FY2017, reaching $106 billion. "Deepwater ports are one of Georgia's strongest economic engines, fostering the development of virtually every industry," Humphreys stated in the report. "The ports are especially supportive of other forms of transportation, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution centers, and agriculture."

The Terry College of Business study found that maritime trade amounts to $44 billion in state gross domestic product, or 8 percent of Georgia's total GDP. Business conducted through the ports resulted in $5.9 billion in federal taxes, $1.4 billion in state taxes and $1.5 billion in local taxes, according to the report.

"The findings are a testament to the powerful, positive impacts that trade through Georgia's ports have - supporting not only business opportunity, but important infrastructure and services funded through tax proceeds on every level of government," said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood.

In other business, the GPA Board heard a report on February trade through GPA terminals. In Brunswick, total auto and machinery units were up by 13.2 percent in February (5,648 units) for a total of 48,501.

"We are pleased to see our Brunswick facility performing so well," Lynch said.

In terms of total tonnage crossing all docks and twenty-foot equivalent container units, last month was the busiest February on record. The GPA handled 2.9 million tons of cargo (up 1.5 percent) and 341,093 TEUs (up 3.2 percent) over the 28-day period.

For the fiscal year to date (July 2017-February 2018), the GPA has handled 23.1 million tons of cargo, up 1.56 million tons, or 7.3 percent. In containerized trade, the Port of Savannah has moved 2.73 million TEUs, up 212,348 or 8.4 percent.

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