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Expert: Savannah harbor improvements will create Clayton jobs

Savannah’s anticipated harbor improvements may be more than 200 miles away, but when completed in a few years they’ll put people to work in Clayton County, according to a logistics expert with Clayton State University.

Cargo from ships in Savannah will feed trains that will come right to the redeveloped Fort Gillem, John Mascaritolo told the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce at its monthly breakfast Thursday. Add the presence of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and metro Atlanta’s impact on Georgia’s economy, he said, and Clayton County will be in a perfect position to benefit.

“We’re sitting very nicely because of the airport. It brings attention to Clayton County,” Mascaritolo told chamber members. “More jobs will come here to Clayton County.”

Mascaritolo noted Fort Gillem’s planned rebirth as Gillem Logistics Center, to serve as a destination for railroads and a place to warehouse cargo. In addition, he said that Norfolk Southern may commit to a “major footprint” there.

Clayton State will also be part of the picture, Mascaritolo said, providing a “complete package now for the educated workforce to support future growth that’s coming along.”

The downside will be “a lot more truck traffic,” he said. “It’s inevitable. But with that comes more jobs, because these trucking companies are going to need drivers.”

Mascaritolo added a plug near the end of his talk for Clayton State’s newly established Center for Supply Chain Management and its “coming out” seminar to be held May 30. Scheduled speakers will be Bob Pertierra of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Fred Bryant of the Fort Gillem Redevelopment Authority, Robert McQueston of Delta Air Lines Air Cargo, and Tom Beaty of Insight Sourcing Group.