SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, U.S. — The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) reached a major milestone on Nov. 16 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the public and agencies for review and comment.

“The study’s release is a significant step forward for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and addresses a critical need of our country's transportation infrastructure," said Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz.

As the fastest growing and fourth largest container port in the nation, and strategically positioned with two Class I rail providers on a single terminal, the Port of Savannah is responsible for moving 8.3% of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and more than 18% of all East Coast container trade in fiscal year 2010 (July 1, 2009 — June 30, 2010). The Port of Savannah handled 12% of all U.S. containerized exports — a total of 1.14 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

In preparation for the Panama Canal Expansion in 2014, the GPA has embarked on an aggressive expansion and modernization plan to more efficiently accommodate newer, larger vessels that are already calling on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts.

The SHEP will deepen the river from its current 42 foot depth to as much as 48 feet. The project is widely supported by Georgia's state leadership, which has appropriated $105 million of construction funds to date.

Copies of the Draft EIS and Draft General Reevaluation Report (GRR) have been furnished to federal, state, local, and other agencies of interest. Electronic copies of the drafts are available at

Written statements regarding the drafts for the proposed action can be made to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District Office until noon, Dec. 30.