Georgia’s ports directly support 153,884 jobs statewide -- an addition of 25,000 jobs since 2009 -- according to a University of Georgia report released Thursday.
The public ports at Savannah and Brunswick, along with neighboring private port facilities, also account for $39.2 billion in statewide economic impact, or direct spending, the study prepared by UGA’s Terry College of Business says. Three years earlier, when the last ports study was done, the economic impact was pegged at $36.5 billion.
“The outstanding performance of Georgia’s deep water ports, relative to other American ports, reflects strong competitive advantages,” wrote UGA economist Jeffrey Humphreys. “These advantages are largely the result of strategic investments in port facilities by the state of Georgia over many years.”
Georgia taxpayers have allocated $180 million, out of a total project price of $652 million, to deepen the Savannah River and harbor in anticipation of larger container ships calling on the port by 2014.
Federal funding typically covers two-thirds of deepening costs. Budgetary woes, though, could crimp Congress’ spending plans. Gov. Nathan Deal has said he might again ask state legislators to allocate money to finish the deepening project, even though Georgia has already met its financial match.
The Georgia Ports Authority paid for the UGA study.