Photo Caption: Congressman Buddy Carter presents outgoing GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz (left) with a U.S. flag that has flown over the capitol in Washington D.C. Carter recognized Foltz' service to the state of Georgia during his final board meeting before stepping down June 30. Under Foltz' leadership, the GPA has reached major milestones, with the start of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and a 32 percent expansion in business over his six years at the helm of the GPA. (Georgia Ports Authority)
Savannah, GA — The Board of Directors of the Georgia Ports Authority elected James L. Allgood as chairman.
"With more than 40 years experience as a business leader, Jimmy Allgood provides the insight and leadership skills necessary to continue GPA's progress toward a prosperous future," said outgoing Chairman James Walters.
Allgood, who served as vice chairman for two years, will assume his new responsibilities July 1.
"I'm excited to have this new opportunity to serve the state," Allgood said. "With our harbor deepening under way, the infrastructure investments we're making on terminal, and the improvements to road and rail connections we're building in Georgia, there is a wealth of opportunity ahead of us."
Also at the board meeting, the authority approved its fiscal year 2017 budget, including $116 million for capital infrastructure improvements. The funds will cover 15 projects, including $42.4 million for the purchase of new ship-to-shore and rubber tired gantry cranes. The remaining funds will go to upgrade existing assets, property development and other infrastructure.
Currently featuring more ship-to-shore cranes than any other U.S. terminal, at 22, Savannah's Garden City Terminal will add four cranes this year. Another set of four will arrive in the late spring of 2018, bringing the total number to 30 cranes.
The board also announced that in consultation with Governor Nathan Deal and the Office of Planning and Budget, it is committed to fully funding its three-year, $7.5 million commitment to the Jasper Ocean Terminal Joint Project Office (JPO). The funds will cover Georgia's share of the JPO operating costs, as well as the services of a third-party contractor hired to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Jasper Ocean Terminal.
"The announcement today to fund three consecutive years of JPO expenses shows Georgia's commitment to bringing this project forward as soon as possible," Allgood said. "For the South Carolina communities adjacent to the Jasper Ocean Terminal, its development will have a massive positive impact. It 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."
As planned, the new terminal will feature 10 berths (phased in to meet rising demand), a turning basin, road and rail access corridors, and supporting infrastructure on 1,500 acres in Jasper County, S.C. This new investment will increase the region's capacity by 7 million twenty-foot equivalent container units.
In other business, Executive Director Curtis Foltz reported to the board that container volumes dropped by 11.3 percent for the month of April, which saw a total of 298,040 TEUs. For the first 10 months of the fiscal year, beginning July 1, GPA has moved a total of 3 million TEUs, an increase of 0.3 percent compared to the same period last year.
"Although container volumes were down in April, the monthly and more importantly year-to-date numbers – primarily driven by increased import market share – continue to exceed our forecast," Foltz said. "We anticipate similar year-on-year monthly variances through July due to prior year artificially inflated volumes."
In his report to the board, Foltz noted that Savannah's April 2016 performance constituted an 11.6 percent increase over the volume of 266,930 TEUs marked in April 2014 – the year before cargo diversions related to West Coast labor issues.
Griff Lynch, incoming executive director effective July 1, thanked Foltz for his 12 years of service to the Georgia Ports Authority, and recognized this would be Foltz' last board meeting.
"Under Curtis' leadership, the GPA has reached major milestones, with the start of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, important on-terminal infrastructure improvements and a 32 percent expansion in business – moving from 2.8 million TEUs in 2010 to more than 3.7 million TEUs last calendar year," Lynch said. "I look forward to working with Chairman Allgood and the rest of the GPA board to continue that string of success."
Find print-quality images of port operations here. Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 369,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $20.4 billion in income, $84.1 billion in revenue and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 11 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in CY2014.
Chairman James L. "Jimmy" Allgood. Allgood is chairman of the Board of Allgood Pest Solutions, a company he started in 1974. He was chairman of the Structural Pest Control Commission for 20 years and is past president of the Georgia Pest Control Association. He has served as chairman of the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority, the Dublin Rotary Club, and the First United Methodist Church board. Allgood earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia, was a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 1993, and was president of Leadership Georgia in 1996. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children and three grandchildren. They reside in Dublin.
Vice Chairman Ken Cronan. Shortly after completing high school at Cherokee County High School in 1976, H. Kenneth Cronan began his career as an electronic technician with the Xerox Corporation. For the next 12 years he mastered his trade and ended his electronic career with the Georgia Department of Education in 1989. In 1990, Ken opened Recovery Services, Inc, and for the past 23 years has co-owned and has been president of GSD. Ken is also the owner of GWAR, LLC. His proudest accomplishments by far are his 36-year marriage to Angela Cronan, two grown children and 5 beautiful grandchildren.
Secretary/Treasurer A.J. "Joe" Hopkins. Hopkins serves as director of Hopkins-Gowen Oil Company, president of Toledo Manufacturing Company, director of Southeastern Bank, and as a partner in Gowen Timber Company. He earned a law degree from Mercer University before going into private practice from 1977-1988. He is a former president of the Georgia Forestry Association, and current president of the Forest Landowners Association. Hopkins has served as a member of the Joint Georgia House and Senate Future of Forest Study Committee; as a member of the Coastal Georgia Comprehensive Development Plan; and the First Congressional District Representative to the state Department of Community Affairs Board. He currently serves on the Suwanee-Satilla Regional Water Council.