Jessie Edelman: Changes in Savannah

aOver spring break, my family went on vacation to Savannah, Georgia. Our hotel was right on the Savannah River and we could see all the cargo ships coming into port. The Port of Savannah is the largest single container terminal in North America with 3 million square feet of warehouse space available. The port employs citizens of Savannah in 369,193 full- and part-time jobs, or 8.4 percent of the city’s workforce.

bSavannahNow.com says that in September of 2015, the United States Army Corps of Engineers started a project that will deepen the shipping lane from 42 to 47 feet in depth to allow larger container ships better access to the port. The dredging, or deepening, of the river will also allow not only larger cargo ships to the port, but also cruise ships to stop there with passengers. Is this move good or bad for the people and economy of Savannah?

The city of Savannah relies heavily on tourism for their economy, with many historical sights from both the American Revolution and the Civil War. The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce says tourists put $2.5 billion into the city’s economy in 2014, with an expected rise in 2015. Cruises bring in more people and money to the shops and historical sites, but no one knows if the passengers sleep and dine in the city. Will the addition of a cruise ship terminal really help the local economy? We will have to wait and see.

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