Curtis J. Foltz picked to lead Georgia’s ports

At his 15th annual State of the Port Address, Doug J. Marchand announced that he would step down from his position as the Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) Executive Director effective January 1, 2010. Marchand will remain as Executive Advisor through the end of 2010, while GPA’s Chief Operating Officer Curtis J. Foltz will become GPA’s Executive Director.

“Doug Marchand’s commitment to innovation has earned Georgia recognition throughout the international shipping industry,” said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who attended this year’s State of the Port. “Under his leadership, Savannah has grown to the 4th largest container port in the nation and is recognized as the fastest growing container port in America. All told during his tenure, GPA more than quadrupled the number of containers shipped through our ports here in Georgia. Georgia is well positioned to continue economic development and industry innovation under the direction of Curtis Foltz.”

In his final Savannah State of the Port Address, Marchand announced that Kia Motors and its part suppliers had selected the Port of Savannah to ship parts and supplies to its plant. This business will represent an increase of more than 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually in the first year of operation.

“Doug’s focus and determination to attract cargo to Savannah and his successful implementation of a customer-focused operation have not only set new standards for the shipping and maritime industry, but also helped the GPA attract some of the retail industry’s largest and most dynamic players,” said GPA Chairman of the Board Steve Green.

Marchand is credited with developing the beneficial cargo owner or port retail concept in the maritime industry. This strategy increased the number of distribution warehouses in proximity to the Port of Savannah and leveraged the presence of the GPA’s shipping customers to attract international retail customers such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea and others. He also implemented the industry’s first customer-focused operation protocol.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Doug and Curtis over the years, and I am confident that this transition will allow Target to continue the very strong relationship we have with the Georgia Ports Authority,” said Rick Gabrielson, Director of Import Transportation for Target.

Marchand also announced that the GPA has positioned itself for future success, by delivering jobs and other economic benefits to the state. “Despite the international slowdown in business, we have increased services and business at our facilities in Savannah,” said Marchand. “Our ability to weather this storm is due in large part to the addition of 12 new or reconfigured services in fiscal year 2009. As the economy begins to turn around and vessels begin loading to capacity, our services will enable us to rebound faster than our peers with a much larger market share.”

At a special board meeting held earlier today, the GPA Board of Directors voted unanimously to promote Foltz as Executive Director effective January 1, 2010.

“Curtis brings to Georgia nearly two decades of managing port operations throughout the US and his private sector experience has proven invaluable to the GPA,” said Green. “In addition to exceeding the expectations set before him as director of day-to-day operations, Curtis also has successfully leveraged his background in transportation and international relations to help expand the GPA’s global footprint.”

Foltz spoke after the announcement of his selection as GPA’s next Executive Director. “Doug has built a port enterprise that is the envy of those within our industry,” said Foltz. “The foundation that is currently in place has positioned us for long-term success; I am extremely excited about our future.”

In other news, Marchand announced that the Port of Savannah handled 2,404,965 TEUs, the second-highest container and tonnage volume in GPA’s history.

Also in FY2009, the Port of Savanna