Georgia Ports have a substantial impact on the State of Georgia, Savannah, and Golden Isles region. Port operations support (directly or indirectly) 561,000 jobs and $33 billion in wages.
Much of the driver of Georgia’s economic growth is its system of ports, which facilitate commerce throughout the state.
For maritime workers, seamen, and recreationists who call Georgia home, having an experienced maritime attorney who can provide meaningful representation following a maritime accident is essential.
Following a maritime accident, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering can mount up causing tremendous pressure on both you and your family.
The attorneys at Johns Law Group are uniquely qualified to represent you following your accident. In addition to advanced training in the field of maritime law, we have handled hundreds of Jones Act, cruise ship, Longshore, and boating injury cases.
History of Port of Savannah
The history of the Port of Savannah originates with the city’s founding in 1733. The port quickly became an essential gateway for the colony’s trade and commerce.
During the 19th century, the port’s importance grew exponentially due to the expansion of cotton cultivation in the American South with the construction of railroads connecting Savannah to the interior of Georgia and other southern states further boosting the city’s prominence as a trade hub.
The Port of Savannah has undergone modernization efforts to accommodate larger vessels and increased trade.
The Savannah Harbor was deepened and expanded, allowing larger ships to access the port. The introduction of containerization in the mid-20th century revolutionized global shipping and further propelled the port’s growth.
Today, the Port of Savannah is one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States. It handles a diverse range of cargo, including containers, automobiles, agricultural products, and industrial machinery.
The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) oversees the operations of the port, which includes several terminals and facilities along the Savannah River.
Operations at the Port of Savannah
The Port of Savannah handles a diverse range of cargo, making it one of the busiest and most versatile ports in the United States. Some of the primary types of cargo that pass through the port include:
1. Containers: The Port of Savannah is a major container port, with several container terminals that handle a wide variety of goods.
2. Agricultural Products: Georgia is a significant agricultural state, and the port handles various agricultural exports such as cotton, peanuts, poultry, pecans, and forest products.
3. Automobiles and Machinery: The port is a major entry point for automobiles, trucks, and heavy machinery. The Garden City Terminal at the port has dedicated facilities for the processing and storage of these vehicles, making it a key hub for the automotive industry.
4. Chemicals and Industrial Products: The port handles various types of chemicals, plastics, industrial machinery, and equipment used in manufacturing processes.
5. Refrigerated and Perishable Goods: The port has facilities for handling refrigerated and perishable goods, including fruits, vegetables, and seafood. These facilities ensure that temperature-sensitive cargo is properly stored and transported.
6. Bulk Cargo: While the port primarily focuses on containerized cargo, it also handles bulk cargo like grains, fertilizers, and other bulk commodities.
In addition, the Port of Brunswick handles the second most Ro/Ro cargo in the United States handling imports and exports for major auto manufacturers.
Port of Savannah Infrastructure
Savannah and the Georgia Ports Authority have several large terminals, centers, and facilities that form the focal point of their operations.
Garden City Terminal: This is the largest and most prominent terminal at the Port of Savannah. It is located in Garden City, Georgia, just northwest of Savannah’s city center. The Garden City Terminal is a major container terminal and handles a significant portion of the port’s containerized cargo.
Ocean Terminal: Located in downtown Savannah, the Ocean Terminal is primarily used for break bulk cargo and roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) operations. It has facilities for handling a variety of cargo types, including forest products, heavy machinery, and automobiles.
Savannah Multi-Purpose Terminal: This terminal is situated near the Garden City Terminal and is used for various types of cargo, including bulk, breakbulk, and project cargo. It offers flexible facilities to accommodate different types of shipments.
Savannah International Trade and Convention Center: This facility is located on Hutchinson Island and serves as a conference and exhibition center. It also has a terminal for cruise ships that visit Savannah.
Appalachian Regional Port: While not directly located on the Savannah River, this inland port is connected to the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal via a dedicated rail link. It is situated in Chatsworth, Georgia, and facilitates the movement of cargo to and from the port’s main facilities.
Inland Distribution Centers: The Port of Savannah operates several inland distribution centers strategically located throughout the Southeastern United States. These centers help distribute cargo efficiently to various destinations.
Cold Storage Facilities: Given the port’s handling of refrigerated and perishable goods, it also has cold storage and temperature-controlled facilities for proper storage and transportation of these commodities.
Savannah Marine Recreation Activities
Savannah, Georgia, and its surrounding region offer a variety of bodies of water that allow for recreational boating.
These waterways cater to a range of boating preferences, from serene inland marshes to open ocean access. Among these bodies of water include the Savannah River, which offers boaters an opportunity to explore the city’s historic waterfront.
Although Savannah does not currently service any major cruise lines, several steamships service the area and provide recreational cruises in the area. Charters are also available for hire to take excursions into the Atlantic.
The Intracoastal Waterway, Wassaw Sound, the Atlantic Ocean, and the rivers and tributaries surrounding Tybee Island and running through the region provide boaters with many other opportunities for recreation including fishing.
One of the most distinct features of Savannah and the Golden Isles is the extensive network of salt marshes and tidal creeks, offering opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and small boat exploration. They are particularly popular for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
The barrier islands off the coast of Savannah, such as Tybee Island, Skidaway Island, and others, provide a unique boating experience. Boaters can explore these islands, anchor in scenic spots, and enjoy the natural beauty of the coastal environment.
Why Do You Need a Port of Savannah Maritime Law Lawyer?
Claims resulting from maritime occupations are a specialized area of law. Hiring a lawyer unfamiliar with maritime law means you may not get the benefits and compensation you’re entitled to.
When you hire attorney Jeremiah Johns from Johns Law Group, you’re working with a dedicated maritime attorney with a deep-rooted understanding of maritime laws.
Depending on your job specifics and the location of the injury, your case will be primarily influenced by one of the following three laws:
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA);
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA); and
- Jones Act, commonly referred to as the Merchant Marine Act.
Our adept Port of Savannah maritime attorneys can meticulously review your case to help identify which of these laws apply. We can also help you preserve all necessary evidence and meet all legal deadlines.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The LHWCA is a federal law that protects certain workers who sustain injuries in designated maritime environments, such as navigable waters or the adjoining areas where vessels are loaded, unloaded, or repaired. Examples include docks, terminals, wharves, and piers.
Coverage and Exclusions Under LHWCA
Examples of potential covered workers include:
- Shipbuilders or ship repairment, and
- Harbor construction workers.
Workers transporting cargo directly from a ship, such as a trucker, may also have some coverage. However, not all maritime workers fall under this law’s protection. A couple of examples of exclusions include:
- Injuries occurring due to intoxication, willful, or intentional acts;
- Workers unloading, loading, or repairing ships under 18 tons;
- Workers who have coverage under the Jones Act; and
- Workers covered under Georgia workers’ compensation laws.
Similar to workers’ compensation cases, you don’t need to prove negligence for a LHWCA claim. It’s necessary to prove you meet the LHWCA’s definition of a maritime worker and that your injury occurred in a covered location.
Compensation and Statute of Limitations under LHWCA
Potential compensation can include:
- Medical costs,
- Temporary total or partial disability,
- Permanent total or partial disability, and
- Vocational rehabilitation.
LHWCA claims have a one-year deadline post-injury. In situations where injury awareness wasn’t immediate, the countdown commences once the injury is recognized or should have been. This deadline is short, which is why it’s crucial to hire an attorney right away.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is another federal law protecting some maritime workers classified as seamen. A seaman spends at least 30% of their time as crewmembers or captains on navigable vessels.
Two main qualifiers include the person’s duties relating to the vessel and establishing a solid link to one vessel or an identifiable group of such vessels.
That means people working in positions such as cooks, bartenders, deckhands, and more. However, administrative staff typically won’t qualify.
Bringing a claim under the Jones Act requires you to prove negligence. Establishing a vessel that is not seaworthy can be a critical factor in your case.
Because this is a fault-based claim, potential compensation differs from the LHWCA. Examples of possible damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in rare situations, even punitive damages.
The filing deadline is longer for claims under the Jones Act. You typically have three years, starting from the injury date or its discovery.
Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
If a family member died while working on a vessel further than three miles from U.S. shores, you may have a claim under the Death on the High Seas Act.
A deceased person’s spouse, parents, children, or other dependent relatives could be eligible to file a lawsuit. Note that this claim is fault-based, which means family members must prove the defendants were at fault.
Compensation for a DOHSA claim differs and may include compensation for:
- Loss of financial support from the deceased;
- Lost services, such as the need to hire someone to do household things the deceased took care of;
- Loss of inheritance;
- Loss of emotional guidance; and
- Funeral expenses.
The statute of limitations for Death on the High Seas Act claims is typically three years, starting to run on the day of your family’s death.
Contact Our Savannah Maritime Accident Lawyers
As a major port city, Savannah has its fair share of maritime accidents and injuries. Maritime injury law is much different than the state law that governs land-based injury claims.
People injured on the water or in connection with maritime activity must present their claims correctly or risk recovering nothing. There are major legal distinctions between people injured in the capacity of seaman, maritime worker, or non-employee.
The attorneys at Johns Law Group hold advanced degrees in the field of maritime law and have handled hundreds of maritime injury claims.
We are dedicated to ensuring that our clients are not short-changed following an injury or accident and work hard to recover money for medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering.
Our attorneys are not personal injury generalists; rather, our goal is to allow our specialization in the field of maritime law to best serve victims of maritime accidents.
We represent clients in maritime injury claims on contingency, which means we will not recover money unless we recover money for you.
For clients seeking to recover compensation under the Longshore Act, Defense Base Act, or other federal compensation statutes, our fees are generally paid by the responsible employer and carrier (on top of your entitled compensation).
Call today at (866) 970-0977 to schedule your free consultation.