The Port of Brunswick received its six millionth new auto import in August 2017. Because Georgia Ports is the second-busiest auto port in the country, the Georgia Ports Authority has approved $1.4 million for permitting and design of a fourth berth at Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick. The berth will be for roll-on/roll-off cargo, like automobiles. Colonel’s Island already serves 60 auto and heavy equipment manufacturers.
Delta Air Lines announced the official opening of a new cargo control center in Atlanta that can track where freight is at all times. The addition comes as the airport ramps up its infrastructure with a $200 million investment in cargo capacity improvements including up to 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space over the next two decades. Once complete, Hartsfield-Jackson will be able to handle nearly 1.5 million metric tons of cargo annually
As part of the ATLNext 20-year capital improvement plan, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta will start construction to accommodate increased cargo operations. The construction begins in August 2017, and will include building a sixth runway, 15 new gates, and a hotel. $2 billion of the $6 billion project is earmarked for minority- and women-owned business enterprises, and the increased cargo capability will require hiring thousands of new workers. Soon, rental space for an additional 88 restaurants and stores will also open.
The Georgia Department of Labor is helping Roper Corporation hire 100 assemblers to work in Lafayette. The company manufactures stoves and ovens for General Electric.
The State of Georgia is the eighth best state in the country to start a new business, according to a new report by personal finance news site WalletHub. The high ranking is partly due to a rebound in Georgia entrepreneurism, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year, there were more than 13,000 new jobs in Georgia.
Sports apparel company Mizuno USA celebrated the grand opening of its new experience center adjoining the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park. It celebrates Mizuno’s history, innovation and craftsmanship of more than 110 years. The new center is designed to let athletes choose their apparel and gear through interactive technologies. “What better place to tell the Mizuno story than our hometown,” said Mark M. O’Brien, president and officer of Mizuno USA and chairman of Mizuno Canada.
In its Columbus, Ga., plant, jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney is spending about $386 million and will hire 500 workers to increase military and commercial engine production. Construction will include a 200,000-square-foot plant to overhaul next-generation geared turbofan engines. Chris Calio, Pratt & Whitney president of commercial engines says the company is “investing heavily” in the Columbus facility because of planned increases in production and services of F135 and GTF engines.
Georgia’s ports were on track to declare 2016 as its second busiest year. Although import and export volume was down for much of the year, the ports experienced an increase in traffic volume during the second part of the year. According to Griff Lynch, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia’s ports have benefited from the reopening of the Panama Canal, as well as the 2015 labor strikes on the west coast.
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In June, 2016, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced the significant investment of Pratt & Whitney, a world leader in aircraft design. The $65m initiative will go toward retrofitting and equipping their Columbus Engine Center to perform PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine maintenance on-site.
“As the GTF engine continues to enter into service, it is critical that we have a strong maintenance, repair and overhaul network in place to support these engines,” said Joe Sylvestro, Pratt & Whitney’s vice president of Aftermarket Operations. “The Columbus Engine Center draws on decades of high volume engine maintenance experience and is well-positioned to provide the highest quality service to our GTF engine customers.”
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company was founded in 1925 by Frederick B. Rentschler, a toolmaker from Hartford, Conn., who revolutionized the aircraft industry in the same year with a lighter, air-cooled engine superior to the liquid-cooled engines of the day. The company began operations in Ga. in 1996, becoming the first facility in the world to begin maintaining PW1000G engines.
Located 90 miles south of Atlanta, the Columbus Engine Center has performed more than 1500 engine overhauls, maintaining several important engines in the Pratt & Whitney family: the V2500®-A5, PW2000, F117, and F100 engines. This expansion will extend those capabilities to include maintenance on PW1100G-JM and PW1500G engines.
“The Pratt & Whitney Columbus Engine Center has become the company’s engine overhaul center of excellence in North America due to its skilled workforce, proven track record for performance and potential for growth,” noted Sylvestro. “The tremendous support we receive from the community and state have contributed to the success of this business.”
This significant investment will support the current employment of administrative, technical, supervisory, production and maintenance positions at the Columbus facility, currently located at 8801 Macon Road. It will also allow the company to expand these facilities, starting construction on a new test facility adjacent to the existing test cell. The company has been investing in upgrading the facility, including adding GTF engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) capabilities. The new GTF facilities will add disassembly, inspection, assembly and test capabilities.
“Pratt & Whitney has been committed to Columbus, Georgia for the past 30 years, having provided thousands of jobs for our residents and tremendous corporate support to our community,” said Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, of the City of Columbus. “We believe with today’s significant investment announcement that they will be providing more opportunities to our city and region for the next 30 years.”
“We appreciate Pratt & Whitney’s continued investment in the state of Georgia,” declared Chris Carr, GDEcD commissioner, “and we look forward to working with our economic development partners in Columbus to support the company in future growth.”
Late in 2015, the Georgia and South Carolina Ports Authorities signed a joint venture agreement toward development of the new Jasper Ocean Terminal (JOT). Together, the two states created a framework for cultivating a terminal design and planning the supporting infrastructure, as well as anticipating financing options and plans for execution.
In May 2016, Ga. officials approved $7.5 million for the project, matching S.C.’s provisions for the project. The funds will span the next three years of building toward a new port terminal on the S.C. side of the Savannah River. The funding has been approved for the 2017 fiscal year budget, beginning July 1, as a sign of dedication by the state. Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) executive director Curtis Foltz has referred to the move as a “huge step” for the JOT, which should take a decade to build at an estimated total cost of $4.5 billion.
“$15 million is what the Jasper project team has told us they need to get the foundational groundwork done,” Foltz noted in a May board meeting of the GPA. Approving Ga.’s half of the funds, he said, is “the first full voice of confidence” on the project.
The terminal, however, is a joint venture, to be operated by both Ga. and S.C. officials. The terminal will create a gateway for the southeast, aiding continued growth in the region and fostering economic advancement. Situated on 1,500 acres of land, the container port will feature 10 berths, a turning basin, access to road and rail lines, and additional supporting infrastructure. It will be situated 10 miles upriver from the entrance to the Savannah Harbor, and 15 miles downriver of the GPA Garden City Terminal. The JOT is scheduled to open in 2030, increasing the capacity for the southeast corridor by 7 million 20-foot equivalent container units.
“I have no doubt,” Foltz continued, “that down the road there is going to be a need to handle 6.5 million containers a year in Savannah, 6.5 million in Charleston, and at least 6.5 million in Jasper. Commerce is going to dictate that, and the citizens of the U.S. deserve it.”
Not only will this be a boon to the shipping industry in the future, it will buoy the region’s economy today, offering jobs and contracts for construction.
The newly elected GPA board Chairman James Allgood recently said that the new port “has the potential to create thousands of jobs, bring in millions in tax revenue for local governments, and ensure the region’s future capacity for decades to come.”