The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) signed an historic agreement recently that will allow both port systems to jointly promote all-water shipping routes between Asia and the Port of Savannah.
"China's economy continues to fuel world trade among all nations and in doing so is growing a new domestic market of its own for the world economies to service via exports to China," said Doug J. Marchand, GPA's Executive Director. "This strategic alliance will allow GPA and the Shanghai International Port Group to improve services for our customers and generate new economic opportunities for Georgia and the Southeastern United States."
The agreement provides for both parties to promote a strong working relationship and exchange information and expertise in the areas of marketing, communications, management, training and safety. The agreement also calls for concerted efforts to expand international trade through both ports by supporting the market presence in their respective countries and with common customers.
"Georgia grown, processed and produced products exported to China have increased by more than 30 percent in just the past year," said Marchand. (See attached chart.) "The State of Georgia
can only benefit from this trend and by increasing ties with China through initiatives such as the MOU signed last week between GPA and SIPG."
The Port of Savannah has 13 all-water weekly services to the Far East that transit the Panama Canal, is the 2nd ranked port on the U.S. East Coast receiving imports from Asia, and the fifth largest containerport in the United States.
"A key ingredient to our steady growth in the Asian market is directly tied to our excellent partnership with America's major retailers," said Marchand. "As a result, Savannah is a regional distribution hub employing thousands of people."
The Port of Savannah services 12 major distribution centers, moving more than 370,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually through more than 9 million square feet of warehousing. In FY02, GPA helped lure three additional distribution centers: Fred's Stores, an expansion for Pier 1 Imports, and Hugo Boss.
Since 1997, the following companies have built new distribution centers in close proximity to the Port of Savannah: Best Buy, The Bombay Company, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Fred's, Hugo Boss, K-mart, Lowes, Michael's and Wal-Mart.