GPA Prepares for Disasters
Mobile HQ can operate from any location in emergency situations.
In the case of a hurricane or any other natural or man-made disaster Georgia Ports Authority’s new Mobile Command Center ensures that data is safe and port operations can continue. (GPA Photo/Stephen Morton)
The Georgia Ports Authority recently unveiled a new Mobile Command Center (MCC). The MCC is a deployable unit from which the GPA can manage its entire operation.
In the case of a hurricane or any other natural or man-made disaster the new unit ensures that data is safe and port operations can continue. The MCC is part of GPA’s hurricane preparedness plan.
“With our location on the East Coast, we know it is important to be prepared for storms that might affect our operation,” said Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Creating this Mobile Command Center through a partnership with our Port Police and Information Technology teams is one way we can assure our business partners that their information is safe and their cargo will continue to move in the most efficient way possible immediately after - and sometimes even during - an emergency situation.”
Bill Sutton, GPA’s Director of Information Technology, said that the 53-foot-long Mobile Command Center consists of sections dedicated to security and information technology. There are three Port Police workstations and 11 general access workstations along with the crucial computer systems required to resume operations in case of a disaster.
“The Mobile Command Center contains all of the information, records and capability required to operate the port remotely and securely,” Sutton said. “The value of this project really is piece of mind for GPA customers.”
For security, the MCC is equipped with cameras, computers and six Apex Radios connected to two Motorola MIP 5000 dispatch consoles. Flat screen televisions display live footage from GPA’s security cameras. Cameras located at the MCC’s entrance and on the roof allow for 360 degree surveillance of the immediate surroundings.
In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, the MCC will be a critical link to restarting service and avoiding delays in cargo movement.
The MCC cost just over $1.5 million and was paid for in part through Port Security Grants funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Federal money covered 75 percent of the project and the GPA invested 25 percent. The GPA also invested additional funds in the data center replica.
GPA chairman Bob Jepson noted that the command center, built by Farber specialty vehicles, has shore-power hook-up, but can also be operated by power produced from an on-board
generator. It is currently located at GPA’s Garden City Terminal, but can be deployed anywhere, pulled by a standard over-the-road truck.
For Jepson the mobile unit is another facet of GPA’s superior customer care. “As our business continues to grow, it’s a priority of ours to protect it,” Jepson said. “This mobile unit ensures we can still provide efficient service despite an emergency situation.”
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah was the second busiest U.S. container port for the export of American goods by tonnage in FY2011. It also handled 8.7 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 12.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2011.