Federal and state planners are forging ahead on the proposed Jasper Ocean Terminal, a joint venture between South Carolina and Georgia port authorities to build a 1,500-acre container port downriver from Savannah.

Advocates say the nominally rival ports of Savannah and Charleston will both run out of capacity in the coming decade, given projected growth in trade to the Southeast states. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley designated $19 million in this year’s state budget toward a $190 million joint infrastructure fund for the port. First planning began in 2007 for the port, which would be operational in 2025.

The location, a longtime dredge containment site in Jasper County, S.C. is on the north bank of the Savannah River, eight miles downstream from the Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal. Plans include building a four-lane highway and double track rail corridor to link the terminal with U.S. 17 and nearby CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern rail lines, with a new rail bridge across the Savannah River.

To accommodate neo-Panamax container ships, navigation improvements will include dredging for an access channel and turning basin, bulkhead and wharf construction to accommodate up to eight ships, according to Corps of Engineers documents.

The terminal will have an array of neo-Panamax sized cranes on the wharf and rail or rubber-tired gantry cranes in the container and intermodal yards.

The construction, associated paving and storm water systems will require placing fill in the waters and tidal marsh around the terminal and is access corridors, and the Corps initiated its environmental impact statement process for the project through the Charleston District office. A 30-day public comment period kicks off Jan. 31 with a public scoping meeting at the elementary school in Hardeeville, S.C.

The Corps’ Savannah office is embarked on navigation improvements to Savannah harbor and its federal channels, to be deepened to 47’. A separate feasibility study will evaluate the cost/benefits of modifying that plan as part of the Jasper project, and could lead to a separate environmental impact study, Corps documents say.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.