US Army Corps of Engineers
Savannah District

Savannah Harbor Expansion, GA

PROJECT NAME AND STATE:  Savannah Harbor Expansion, GA 

AUTHORIZATION:  WRDA 1999, Sec. 102 (P.L. 106-53); WRRDA 2014, Sec. 7002 (P.L. 113-121)   



Estimated Federal Cost


Estimated Non-Federal Cost


Total Estimated Cost



Allocation thru FY 2017


Allocation for FY 2018


Programmed Balance to Complete After FY 2018


LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION:  Deep Draft Navigation.  The currently authorized Savannah Harbor deep-draft navigation project is a 42-foot deep, 32.7 mile long shipping channel on the Savannah River, which forms the border between Georgia and South Carolina.  The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project will deepen the existing -42 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) project to -47 feet MLLW.  The project was conditionally authorized in WRDA 99 stipulating that no construction can occur until approved by the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of EPA.  Those approvals were obtained July 11, 2012.  A Construction Project Partnership Agreement was executed 8 October 2014 which allowed the non-Federal Sponsors (the Georgia Ports Authority and the Georgia Department of Transportation) to provide their funds, up to the current estimate of the non-Federal Sponsors' share, for the initiation of construction.

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2017:  FY2017 funds were used to continue the CSS Georgia recovery, Entrance Channel dredging, Dissolved Oxygen Injection System, Raw Water Storage Impoundment, Dredged Material Containment Area 14A dike raising, and Sediment Basin Area work; prepare plans and specifications for out-year project features; continue environmental monitoring.

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2018:  FY2018 funds will be used to complete Entrance Channel dredging and Dissolved Oxygen Injection System; award McCoy’s Cut Area Work; prepare plans and specifications for out-year project features; complete the design for Inner Harbor dredging; continue environmental monitoring.  

ISSUES AND OTHER INFORMATION:  The Total Project First Cost is estimated at $973M at FY 2017 levels with construction to be cost shared 75% Federal and 25% non-Federal before the 10% General Navigation Feature payback, providing annual net benefits of $282M, a benefit-to-cost ratio of 7.3 to 1, and a $6M increase in annual Savannah Harbor Operations and Maintenance costs.  When costs were estimated and the project approved by the Department of Interior, Department of Commerce, and US Environmental Protection Agency, the project assumed a construction period of five years based on optimal funding at approximately $100M/year in Federal construction funds.  Should SHEP be funded at $25M/year, the project would be extended an additional 19 years, costs would be increased by at least $225M due to inflation, and $3.132M in annual net benefits would not be realized.  At $50M/year, the project would be extended an additional 5 years, costs would be increased by at least $56M due to inflation, and $696M in annual net benefits would not be realized.  The sponsor funding and credit to date totals $295M with $221M in cash contributions being provided thru March 2016.  The sponsors have provided nearly all of their estimated share of the Total Project Cost Escalated to the Mid-Point of Construction, $221M to date.  Federal funding at lower levels in future years will increase costs and lengthen the construction period.  The most significant challenge for SHEP is to execute the complex sequenced construction as efficiently as funding allows and to avoid delays of $282M in net annual benefits to the Nation.   

As the size and frequency of container vessels increases, so do transportation inefficiencies, vessels waiting on the tide and light loading, unless the Savannah Harbor channel is deepened. The Port of Savannah is the fourth busiest container terminal in the nation, the second largest container port on the East Coast, the second busiest harbor for American export tonnage, the largest single container port in North America, and the fastest growing container port in the nation over the last 10 years.  

ADMINISTRATION POSITIONThis project is consistent with Administration policy. SHEP was included in the President’s July 2012 “We Can’t Wait” initiative as one of five port improvement projects that should be fast tracked as the project supports the Administration’s priorities of job creation and infrastructure improvement.


Initiate CSS Georgia Recovery            08 January 2015 (A) 
Award Entrance Channel Dredging Contract           04 March 2015 (A) 
Award Dissolved Oxygen Injection System Contract           31 July 2015 (A) 
Award Raw Water Storage Impoundment Contract
          11 December 2015 (A) 
Award 14A Dike Raising Contract            08 April 2016 (A)
Award Sediment Basin Area Work            15 September 2016 (A)
 Award McCoy's Cut Area Work           TBD

ACTION OFFICER:  Margarett (Mackie) McIntosh                           01 October 2017