Dear Friends of SLEAT,

The GPA’s attention to Brunswick harbor is good news. Now if we can just get them to do something about the derelict facilities that blight the south end of the City and the East River waterfront.
I’ll be following up later in the week with my own perceptions of the two hours of committee meetings I attended on Sunday afternoon.


Georgia Ports Authority board approves improvements in Brunswick – Brunswick News: Local News
Georgia Ports Authority board approves improvements in Brunswick
By LINDSEY ADKISON The Brunswick News | Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:00 am

The board of the Georgia Ports Authority voted Monday on a lease with Wallenius Wihelmsen Americas LLC, and to continue improvements at GPA’s bulk facility on Colonel’s Island.
The approvals at the board meeting Monday on St. Simons Island are in keeping with the $152 million investment the authority plans to make in the Brunswick port over the next 10 years.
The action allows the leasing of a 20-acre parcel of port property to Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Americas LLC.
Wilhelmsen, a Norway-based company, already has facilities at the Brunswick port but will use the new area, this one on the south side of the Colonel’s Island Terminal, for storage and distribution, as well as for the processing of vehicles and equipment.
The lease includes two extension options of five years each.
The lump sum rental is $280,116 per 20 years.
Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said the authority approved developing a new section of Colonel’s Island about six months ago. Since that time, it has been working to make improvements, including paving, lighting, proper drainage and retention ponds.
“We have two parcels,” Foltz said. “One is a 20-acre parcel and the other is about a 45-acre parcel. It’s roughly a $17 million to $18 million in investment. We were pleased that before we even finished construction, Wallenius Wilhelmsen agreed to expand their footprint. They are already on the north side of Colonel’s Island.
“They have agreed to lease the 20-acre site. We are in discussion with two companies about leasing the 45-acre parcel that will be done in about eight months from now. It’s all good news. It’s about building our portfolio of assets and attracting more companies.”
The addition is another piece in helping to replace some of the business that was lost when Volkswagen left the port to relocate to Jacksonville about a year ago. Foltz said with the Wilhelmsen expansion, as well as other positive movement, the gap is quickly being filled.
“Candidly, we hated to see Volkswagen go. They were a great customer of ours. They didn’t leave for the wrong reason. They loved being in Brunswick, but they received a financial incentive from the state of Florida that they couldn’t pass up,” he said.
“We have replaced more than half of the volume that left with either the current customers or new customers with new brands. So it’s been a surprising development that we were able to replace it that quickly. But it’s investing in these new areas that allows us to go out and get these new companies to fill the space … and attract more companies.”
In addition to the Wilhemsen contract, the authority board agreed to move forward with improvements at the Colonel’s Island bulk facility. The project’s budget is $1.9 million with funds going toward improving customer service and safety.
The funding was approved in January 2015.
The plans will be executed during a coordinated plant shutdown scheduled during May and June.
“Right now in Brunswick, we are in the midst of $25 million to $30 million of improvements. We just completed an expansion of our rail capacity called Angora Junction. We’re doing paving improvements — 70 acres of that. We are strengthening our berth at Mayor’s Point, modernizing East River Terminal, modernizing and improving our bulkhead facility at Colonel’s Island,” Foltz said.
“In total it’s about $30 million. All of these are about attracting and making improvements so we can grow and better handle new volumes of roll on/roll off (RO/RO). That’s automobiles, heavy machinery and boats.”
One company that will benefit from the additions is Logistec U.S.A. at the East River Terminal. That is the same company that suffered a setback in mid-July where two of its three warehouses were destroyed by a fire.
Foltz said the company is rebounding nicely and will even see greater growth once the improvements are completed.
“They just completed and put into operation a new warehouse and expect within the next six months to have the facilities that were damaged by the fire replaced with newer and more modern facilities. We are also doing some improvements with the rail so it’s progressing exceptionally well,” he said. “They have responded exceptionally well to the unfortunate event and not only have replaced the capacity that was lost but with the new warehouse, (but) increased the capacity beyond what we had a year ago.”
The new Logistec facilities, coupled with the overall infrastructure improvements, will continue to drive growth, Foltz expects. And that will bring more jobs to Glynn County.
“It’s all about job creation. In this business, what we move through our ports … it’s not moved on conveyor belts. It’s about bringing people and economic development not only to the region and local communities but to the entire state,” he said.

What did Commissioner Provenzano know? – Brunswick News: Letters To The Editor
What did Commissioner Provenzano know?
Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:00 am
The long March 19th article about the five candidates in the Republican primary for the Glynn County commission seat now held by Dale Provenzano ends with three paragraphs devoted to the incumbent defending his record with faulty claims.
According to the story, Commissioner Provenzano believes that problems controlling development and providing adequate infrastructure “were brought to light by himself and the present commission” and that “Myself and my commissioners are the ones who figured out a lot of these problems.”
Commissioner Provenzano seems to have forgotten that more than two years ago Monica Smith called his attention and that of the Joint Water and Sewer Commission to problems concerning inadequate sewer and water infrastructure for new developments.
At that meeting, she suggested JWSC recommend the county commission impose a moratorium to halt new development until the infrastructure deficiencies were corrected and that appropriate county officials and boards be brought up to speed on infrastructure issues.
Full disclosure: I have been married to Monica Smith for fifty-two years.
Julian Smith
Saint Simons Island