Georgia Allots $6 Million to Brunswick Harbor Improvements

Planned improvements to the Brunswick Harbor will enable vessels to transit with greater efficiency. The Port of Brunswick handled 627 vessel calls in 2023, 531 of which were destined for the auto port at Colonel’s Island Terminal, shown. Image courtesy of Georgia Ports

The Georgia General Assembly has allocated just over $6 million for special harbor improvements at the Port of Brunswick as part of the state’s midyear budget adjustment. Governor Brian Kemp signed the funding bill into law on February 29.

“I was proud to sign the FY2024 amended budget with key investments in areas like public safety, education, and workforce development," said governor Brian Kemp. “Reflecting our shared commitment to making Georgia the best state to live, work, and raise a family, I’m especially pleased this budget included record funding for infrastructure projects like the Brunswick Harbor, which plays a vital role in Georgia’s thriving economy.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recommended harbor improvement plan includes a bend widener, expansion of the turning basin (where ships are turned bow-downriver before docking at Colonel’s Island), and an expanded meeting area at St. Simons Sound.

“I want to thank our state lawmakers, members of Congress and Gov. Kemp for their continued support of our port operations in Brunswick and Savannah,” said Georgia Ports Authority board chairman Kent Fountain. “These funds, as well as expected federal dollars, will enable GPA to more effectively support the businesses and jobs that rely on Brunswick for efficient connections to global markets.”

The state allocation for the harbor is a pass-through to the Corps of Engineers to pay for the non-federal share of the project. The entire cost is expected to be $17.45 million, with a federal share of $11.35 million, or 65 percent.

“For the past four years, we’ve seen an increasing number of vessel calls at the Port of Brunswick, and the car carriers serving Colonel’s Island have expanded in size to 7,000-vehicle capacity,” said GPA president and CEO Griff Lynch. “An improved channel will better accommodate growing business demand, and perfectly complements the terminal improvements we’re making in Brunswick.”

Lynch said the next step is for GPA to sign a project partnership agreement with the Corps of Engineers laying out state and federal responsibilities related to the Brunswick Harbor improvements.

The project will benefit the auto carriers calling on Colonel's Island as well as bulk and breakbulk vessels carrying commodities such as forest products and raw rubber.

The Georgia Ports Authority is investing more than $260 million in Brunswick infrastructure. Recently completed projects at the Colonel’s Island auto port include:

  • 350,000 square feet of on-dock warehousing
  • 100,000 square feet of warehousing on the south end of Colonel’s Island
  • 80 additional acres for Roll-on/Roll-off storage

Still under construction on Colonel’s Island are additional buildings totaling 182,000 square feet and another 42 acres of Roll-on/Roll-off cargo storage. The landside projects, paid for via port proceeds, will increase the terminal’s capacity to complete on-site processing for autos and machinery.

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