PCIDs Exec: Savannah Port Expansion Benefits Dunwoody and Perimeter

Three questions with Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts on the Port of Savannah expansion.

Business leaders and Georgia legislators say expansion of the Port of Savannah to support larger ships from the Panama Canal will benefit Dunwoody and the surrounding Perimeter area along with metro Atlanta.

Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts said, “We have a major alignment between this gateway of Sandy Springs, Perimeter, and Dunwoody to the Port.”

A key element of that is the popular draw of the Perimeter Center area for companies that love the connectivity, walkability and MARTA accessibility that the area offers.

“It’s smart to have that correlation of how Atlanta and the ports come together because we do have that great synergy, and it’s not just about what goes on in Savannah vs. Atlanta,” Williams said. “They come together for transportation of goods and services and the populations base that has to be served.

Here are three questions with Yvonne Williams on the Port expansion and how I-285/Ga. 400 interchange improvements relate to it.

Q: How would Perimeter be impacted by the Port of Savannah expansion?

A: Perimeter is well-positioned as a global gateway. The Port of Savannah does so much international business and is very significant to the United States as an eastern port….Goods and services are moving directly to Atlanta. And we have the gateway to I-285/Ga. 400 where goods and services are being transported all over Atlanta. We are definitely a high-level market place connected to the Port.

Q: Would goods from the Port only pass through the metro area on the way to the northeast? How would that benefit the Perimeter economy?

A: Even if it’s going to the northeast it’s still part of our economy. [When] freight companies come to major retail centers, it’s all part of the movement of goods and services and goes directly into the consumer base. We already know that seven million tons of freight moves through Dekalb County. Forty million tons of freight moves through Fulton County. This only stands to grow as we bring in more products…and some of the biggest consumer products that cover the southeastern United States.

Q: How important is restructuring of the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange in general and for the Port expansion?

A: To do it sooner is more strategic than to do it later. We’re focused on this project and support the Governor and any agencies we can in the timeline of it. We know that 65,000 people live and commute out of this area, and we know that over 123,000 come into the area for work on a regular basis…not to mention the 200,000 vehicles that travel though; the interchange must be addressed.


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