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Georgia Ports Authority, Suez Canal Authority solidify strategic alliance
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Savannah - The Georgia Ports Authority and the Suez Canal Authority signed a historic agreement to jointly promote the all-water shipping route between Asia/Indian Subcontinent and the North American East Coast and the Port of Savannah via the Suez Canal.
The Suez Canal has become a crucial canal for world trade and, in recent years, has experienced rapid growth, said Steve Green, chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority's board of directors.
"In all of our key Suez trade lanes, whether Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Middle East, our growth is outpacing most other East Coast ports," Green said.  
The Memorandum of Understanding agreement provides both parties the opportunity to promote a strong working relationship and exchange information and expertise in the areas of marketing, operations and information technology. The agreement also calls for concerted efforts to expand international trade by supporting the market presence in their respective countries and with common customers.
"This strategic alliance will allow GPA and the Suez Canal Authority to improve services for customers and generate new economic opportunities for Georgia and the Southeastern United States," said Doug J. Marchand, GPA's executive director.
In 2007, 67 percent of GPA's total increase in trade, or an additional 296,989 20-foot equivalent units, was via the Suez Canal.
"In the past 18 months, we have doubled the number of our Suez services, even in the midst of a U.S. economic downturn," Marchand said. "Our Suez trade will only continue to accelerate in the years ahead and this partnership will lay the ground work for even stronger growth."
According to Green, staying ahead of the growth curve is a top priority for GPA. "As the fastest growing port in the nation, the Port of Savannah's 444,130 20-foot equivalent units total throughput increase during 2007 accounted for almost 30 percent of the nation's growth," said Green. "It is critical to the continued success of Georgia's ports and the businesses that rely upon us that the Savannah Harbor is deepened up to 48 feet. The successful completion of this deepening is the GPA's number-one infrastructure priority."
GPA has strategic partnerships with other ports, such as the Shanghai International Port Group, Sydney Ports Corporation, Panama Canal Authority and Port of Shimizu in Japan.
Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,476 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $14.9 billion in income, $55.8 billion in revenue and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy.
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