• Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept. 4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port authority.

    Army Under Secretary tours Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept. 4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia...

  • A birds-eye view of the Georgia Ports Authority Garden City Terminal at the Savannah Harbor, Sept. 4, 2013. Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visited the port and took a helicopter tour.

    U.S. Army Undersecretary Joseph W. Westphal visits Savannah port

    A birds-eye view of the Georgia Ports Authority Garden City Terminal at the Savannah Harbor, Sept. 4, 2013. Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visited the port and took a helicopter tour.

  • Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, joined by Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, the adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard, and Col. Thomas Tickner, district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District), visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept. 4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port authority.

    Army Under Secretary visits Hunter Army Airfield

    Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, joined by Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, the adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard, and Col. Thomas Tickner, district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District), visits the...

  • Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal gives a press conference at the Port of Savannah, Ga., (Garden City Ocean Terminal) to discuss the economic value of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, Sept. 4, 2013. Next to Westphal is Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District. The corps is the lead federal agency for the SHEP-a plan to deepen the federal shipping channel from 42 feet to 47 feet to accommodate larger ships and increase shipping efficiencies. The project is slated to bring a net benefit of $174 million annually to the nation.

    Under Secretary of the Army gives press conference at Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal gives a press conference at the Port of Savannah, Ga., (Garden City Ocean Terminal) to discuss the economic value of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, Sept. 4, 2013. Next to Westphal is Col...

  • Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visited the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept. 4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port authority.

    Army Under Secretary tours Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal visited the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept. 4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia...

  • Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal gives a press conference at the Port of Savannah, Ga., (Garden City Ocean Terminal) to discuss the economic value of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, Sept. 4, 2013. Next to Westphal is Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District. The corps is the lead federal agency for the SHEP-a plan to deepen the federal shipping channel from 42 feet to 47 feet to accommodate larger ships and increase shipping efficiencies. The project is slated to bring a net benefit of $174 million annually to the nation.

    Under Secretary of the Army gives press conference at Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal gives a press conference at the Port of Savannah, Ga., (Garden City Ocean Terminal) to discuss the economic value of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, Sept. 4, 2013. Next to Westphal is Col...

  • Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal shakes hands with Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, upon arriving at Hunter Army Airfield, Sept. 4, 2013. Tickner and his staff briefed Westphal on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, followed by a press conference and tour at the Savannah Port, in Georgia.

    Army Under Secretary visits Savannah

    Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal shakes hands with Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, upon arriving at Hunter Army Airfield, Sept. 4, 2013. Tickner and his staff briefed Westphal on...

  • Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept.4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port authority.

    U.S. Army Undersecretary Joseph W. Westphal visits Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept.4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port...

  • Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept.4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port authority.

    U.S. Army Undersecretary Joseph W. Westphal visits Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal visits the Port of Savannah, Ga. (Garden City Terminal), Sept.4, 2013, to reinforce the importance of the collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Savannah District) and the Georgia Port...

  • Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, joined by Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, speak with the mayors of Savannah, Ga., and Hinesville, Ga., Edna Jackson and Jim Thomas, during a visit to the Georgia Ports Authority, Sept. 4, 2013.

    U.S. Army Undersecretary Joseph W. Westphal visits Savannah port

    Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, joined by Col. Thomas Tickner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District, speak with the mayors of Savannah, Ga., and Hinesville, Ga., Edna Jackson and Jim Thomas, during a visit...

SAVANNAH, Ga. (Sept. 5, 2013) -- "That's what it's all about-right behind me," said the U.S. Army's second highest-ranking civilian leader, Under Secretary Joseph W. Westphal, as he motioned to the mammoth cranes, cargo containers, and semi-trucks bustling around him.

"That means American trade [and] American products going overseas," he said. "It means our economy is growing and improving-and that's the gateway to get it [our products] to other markets."

Westphal was talking about the Port of Savannah, which is the nation's fourth busiest container port, and second largest for exports.

The under secretary visited Savannah, Sept. 4, to meet with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Ports Authority, Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield, and the mayors of Savannah and Hinesville, Ga. Additionally, he took a helicopter tour of the port and surrounding wetlands and held a press conference with local news media.

A major purpose of his visit was to highlight the economic value of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, or SHEP, which is a plan to deepen the federal shipping channel from 42 feet to 47 feet to accommodate larger ships and increase shipping efficiencies.

As the lead federal agency for the SHEP, the corps' Savannah District studied it for 13 years, and-by working with state and federal partners and the public, designed an extensive engineering and environmental mitigation plan.

"I always say the United States is so unique in that it is the only country in the world where the U.S. Army is its chief public works agency doing this kind of work," Westphal said. "[They are] creating opportunities, building infrastructure, and restoring the environment to make these kinds of projects possible."

The SHEP was formally approved by the federal government in October 2012, and currently awaits a funding authorization from Congress before construction can begin.

At a total project cost of $652 million, the SHEP would yield an annual net benefit of $174 million to the nation throughout the life of the project. Specifically, for every $1 invested in the project, taxpayers will yield a benefit of $5.50.

"The Congress and the president would not be making this investment if there wasn't a huge return," Westphal said.

Westphal also mentioned the vice president's plans to visit the Port of Savannah later this month, saying the visit indicates how important the SHEP is to the nation's economy.

Aside from economic benefits, the SHEP includes many environmental mitigation features, such as installing Speece Cones along the river to improve dissolved oxygen levels in the water. Plans also include the construction of a fish bypass upstream near Augusta, allowing sturgeon and other fish species to access historical spawning areas that are currently closed off.

Other mitigation features include the preservation of a Civil War ironclad, the CSS Georgia, which currently sits at the bottom of the river; and the acquisition of lands for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.

Westphal mentioned the Army's commitment to mitigate environmental impacts associated with large-scale projects such as the SHEP and the need to balance environment and economy.

"It takes a long time, not only to get the funding but to do the work that's necessary to do this right," Westphal said. "And as we get this done and executed over the next few years, you will see tremendous increases in trade and it will have a very positive impact on our economy."

Learn more about the SHEP on the Corps Savannah District website at www.sas.usace.army.mil

Page last updated Thu September 5th, 2013 at 00:00