ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal is in Panama getting a closer look at the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Channel 2’s Justin Farmer is the only television reporter with the governor. Deal told Farmer the trip is critical to understanding the need to deepen the shipping channel at the Port of Savannah.
The governor toured the canal on Monday. A second, deeper lane is being added to the 100-year-old canal to accommodate Panamax ships headed to the East Coast.
"This is going to introduce it to the eastern seaboard. Our ports have to be ready to accommodate these larger ships, three times the size of ships that can currently traverse the canal. It's going to change the dynamics and cost of shipping goods," said Georgia Port Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz.
"We want to have a port where larger vessels can come and unload. It is an important economic driver for our state and with the development that's occurring here it puts the timeline in even greater acceleration mode for me," Deal said.
State officials are waiting for congressional approval before work can begin to deepen the channel for larger ships.