Freight from Savannah to move through Cordele - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Freight from Savannah to move through Cordele

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

CORDELE, GA (WALB) – In Georgia's early days, boats and ships were the primary movers for goods. Then after in the 1800s came railroads. More recently, much of the stuff that we consume comes by truck.

But in the future, goods will be transported by all three and Wednesday, part of that future began to take shape in one South Georgia city.

Wednesday, hundreds of people from all around South Georgia gathered in Cordele to hear speeches and turn shovels on a project designed to meet the future needs of goods transportation in the state.

State Representative Buddy Harden, a Republican who represents the 147th District said that it will be a "much more efficient way to move it and a much less expensive way to move it."

It may not look like much now, but it's been a long road to get to even this point.

"It's been about a seven year road," said Rep. Harden.

The reason this facility is being built is a long way away - in Savannah. Georgia has recently begun to upgrade the port there. With the expansion, the new inland port being built here will help to relieve the expected extra traffic burden there.

"We're seeing the Panama Canal being deepened and widened to bring bigger vessels in. We're going to see the Port of Savannah get to the point of, they're crowded now," said Johnny Floyd, a State Transportation Board Member.

So instead of hundreds of trucks carrying one container out of Savannah, freight trains will carry hundreds of containers to Cordele. And once its built, the facility will be a transfer point for goods that move on both trucks and trains to get to their destinations.

Jonathan Lafevers, the Chief Commercial Officer for Cordele Intermodal Services said, "the container would come to us via rail to Cordele, then the container would lifted off of the rain, put on a truck and the truck would take it the rest of the way."

Once the inland port is done the amount of freight that will move through here will be substantial.

"We see no reason that this facility couldn't do 10 or 20,000 containers its first year," said Lafevers.

And it's not just freight that will be coming down here from Savannah, the unemployment rate in this area will be coming down as well. Because when this project is finished it will create jobs.

"It's probably going to be about 200-250," said Bruce Drennan, the Executive Director of the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Developmental Council.

And hundreds more jobs will be created indirectly. And not just in Crisp County.

Drennan said, "we're looking at about a 15 county region that this port will have an impact on."

The main goal of this project is to hopefully get the economy in Cordele - and in the rest of South Georgia - moving again.

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