The federal government has given its approval to an innovative agreement that can open doors for cooperation between the ports in Georgia and Virginia.
The Georgia ports in Savannah and Brunswick have a significant economic impact on Coweta County. Local companies import materials and products that come through the ports, and local manufacturers ship their completed products around the world through the ports.
The agreement, approved April 10, allows the Georgia Ports Authority and the Virginia Port Authority to begin discussing ways the two ports can share information in certain operational areas to position themselves as the U.S. East Coast's leading gateways for containerized cargo.
A joint application to proceed with development of the East Coast Gateway Terminal Agreement was filed by the ports on Feb. 24. The application set into motion a 45-day review period – including a 12-day public comment period – by the Federal Maritime Commission. The approved agreement encourages the exchange of information and best practices in five areas of operational and supply chain efficiencies, safety, communications and customer service.
The agreement does not cover discussions regarding purchase or lease prices for containers or chassis. It prohibits the ports from entering into agreements on rates, charges, terms or conditions on containers or chassis without filing an agreement with the FMC.
"Our industry is changing rapidly and, as a result, increased collaboration between ports is necessary to provide the service excellence our customers expect and deserve," said Griff Lynch, GPA's executive director. "It is clear that both Georgia and Virginia are East Coast gateway ports and this step further allows us to create jobs, economic development and improve safety. I would like to thank our respective employees and partners in the ILA as we move forward together."
"We are making significant investments at our respective ports to handle the larger vessels and cargo volumes coming to the East Coast,” said John Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia ports. “Now we will begin discussing about how to best leverage these assets, collectively and position Georgia and Virginia as the East Coast's primary cargo gateways."