CORDELE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Officials are calling Cordele's inland port the connector job creator of Middle Georgia. The port in Savannah is one the busiest in the country and the direct rail connect to Cordele is an attempt to bring some of the coastal money inland.
"We've been working on this for a while now," said Bruce Drennan, the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Development Council Director.
The 200-mile rail route is a connector to Savannah, allowing large companies to reduce the number of trucks and fuel on the interstate. The port was built in 2003 and from the day crews broke ground, Drennan had big dreams. On Tuesday, Governor Nathan Deal put the wheels in motion, by signing the agreement between the Georgia Ports Authority and Cordele Intermodal Services.
"The reason Cordele and not other places is we got a short line railroad with direct connectivity to Savannah," Drennan said.
The rail ramp is similar to the port in Savannah only inland. It's the first transportation source of its kind in the state of Georgia giving businesses the option to export and import products via truck or train. By cutting the number of cars and trucks, companies can save on shipping, services and time. In the big world of business, Drennan says, time is money.
"There will be a lot of distribution and warehouse jobs, we see those coming here," Drennan said.
The Georgia Institute of Technology conducted a feasibility study about the possibilities of an inland port in Cordele. According to the study, in the next five years, nearly 5,000 jobs will head to the Middle Georgia region, all as a result of the port. Drennan say he's been contacted by distribution centers and food processing companies looking to move this way.
"It will benefit Albany, it will benefit Macon, Moultrie, Thomasville, Valdosta, everyone around here," he said.