Last week I arranged a private tour of the Savannah Ports Authority for myself and my two running mates, Aaron Higgins and Tom Hutcherson. We felt we needed to learn more about the ports since Pooler is an integral part for the warehousing and transportation needs of the port. We were taken behind the scenes by Lee Beckmann, Manager of Governmental Affairs. It was quite an experience to see up close and personal the vast size of the port and the massive amount of containers and trucks coming in and out of the port.
We were shown where they are straightening Pipemaker’s Canal and widening the culvert which, once complete, should be a positive impact for Pooler’s drainage issues. Pipemaker’s Canal has other areas that need to be addressed, but this should help. We also saw the customs building where they search suspicious containers for trade mark violations, drugs, stolen vehicles and parts, etc. Unfortunately, even though the port has had continued growth, the federal appropriations for custom agents has not increased at the port and many agents have been pulled to the border. Even so, their custom agents do an amazing job regarding turn around time of containers pulled for inspection.
It was an interesting fact that the port works closely with the EPA. For instance, they have reduced their lighting costs by 55% by converting their lights to LED and linking them to an astronomical clock. The cost of the conversion will pay for itself in 5 years.
At the end of our tour, we expressed our concern for Pooler’s truck traffic. He explained that the port works with GDOT to set a priority list for what they perceive are the top problem traffic areas. If elected, we reassured him that we would be involved in communicating with the Port to keep Pooler on their radar screen when compiling their priority list for new highway extensions, etc. Again, communication is key and is what is lacking from our current council to many outside entities.
I have shared some pictures that we were allowed to take so that you, too, can get a glimpse of what we experienced. I have already provided a detailed report on the State of the Ports, so this news blog is more about sharing the pictures with everyone. Thank you, Aaron Higgins, for editing and sharpening the images. Enjoy!