Chatham County officials are overseeing a plan to build an international cruise ship terminal on the Savannah River near downtown Savannah, said John Snedeker, chair of the Chatham County Port Planning Committee. 

The terminal that is to be built on private land and could include a hotel, offices, restaurants and shops, is estimated to be a $250-300 million project, Mr. Snedeker told GlobalFax in a telephone interview.  He added that the landowner is willing to sell and several companies are interested in investing in the project, although no deals have yet been made.

Cruise ships carrying between 1,100-2,200 passengers would begin their tours from Savannah, which means that people from all over the country and the world would gain exposure to Georgia, he said.

“They would fly into Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, take a flight to Savannah where they would stay overnight, probably eat at the restaurants and go shopping, and in the morning depart from the terminal,” he said. “The ripple effect would be tremendous.”

Mr. Snedeker, who is a maritime shipping consultant, said that likely destinations for the ships would be Bermuda, the northern Bahamas and, on longer cruises, Mexico and Central America. Several cruise companies, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Commodore Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, have expressed interest in using the terminal.

The project has the support of the Georgia Ports Authority, he added. To reach the committee, call (912) 652-7176.