Port agreement connects coast to inland Georgia

Gov. Nathan Deal signs the inland port agreement. / Jessica Fairley

Companies now have a direct route for exporting and importing goods through the Savannah Port.

With the stroke of his pen, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a memorandum of understanding opening the gateway to bring commerce and jobs into not only southwest Georgia but the entire state.

The inland port agreement is a partnership between the Georgia Ports Authority and Cordele Intermodal Services that creates a direct rail route from Cordele to the port of Savannah.

"I think it's important to have this kind of infrastructure in place in order to attract the kind of industries to attract and to locate and utilize this facility to its fullest," said Governor Nathan Deal, Georgia (R).

Cordele Intermodal Services is the drop off point for rail access to savannah. This inland port reduces traffic, allowing for shorter hauls all while saving on shipping.

"The current year they'll move about 5,000 containers from here to and from the port. We were advised just last night they secured a very important account that will double that value, almost double it next year," said Curtis Foltz, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority.

Foltz says as companies outside of southwest Georgia see the efficiency in the new system, hopefully they'll want to invest in the area.

"It's a job creator. It's really a magnet for new opportunities for companies to locate here to be more competitive globally and with that competition in these local markets bring jobs," said Curtis Foltz.

Starting out, the rail is shipping commodities native to Georgia, including peanuts, cotton and pecans but state officials are optimistic that companies from outside the state will use the route to ship their products.

"We're open to having manufacturing come here. They have the access through this inland port to be able to export their product to the port," said Gov. Nathan Deal.

The inland port agreement between the Georgia Ports Authority and Cordele Intermodal Services is effective for 10 years. The agreement went into effect in the beginning of July and will commence in June of 2023.

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