Citing what State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said is a lack of progress on the future Jasper Ocean Terminal, the General Assembly recently decided to take a more active role in ensuring that the port is built.
Davis told South Carolina Radio Network the hope is that he and other lawmakers from the region can advocate collectively for the terminal. “I have enlisted some legislative allies, the legislators that represent the seven-county area.”
Davis has been involved in efforts to build the Jasper Port for over a decade when he was then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s chief of staff in March 2007. That is when Sanford and then-Georgia governor Sonny Perdue signed a Bi-State Term Sheet which outlined a critical path for the South Carolina and Georgia to develop the port, together.
Gov. Nikki Haley had hoped to open the terminal by 2025. However, the South Carolina Ports Authority insists it will not reach capacity at its existing Charleston facility until as late as 2035. Davis said Georgia ports officials are starting to look elsewhere since their Savannah port will reach capacity well before that.
Davis said that although progress has been made since 2007, it has been frustrating for him to subsequently watch a natural asset like the Jasper Port site continue to lie dormant.
He said the port would have a major positive economic impact on the area. “And if we really care about those people and if we care that about the area we ought to allow the development of this incredible natural resource to benefit them.”
Davis said that according to economic models, the potential impact would be greater than that of BMW, Michelin, and Boeing, combined.