The Fabled Return of the Georgia Cranes

In March of 2011, the Georgia Port Authority (GPA) announced the purchase of 24 more Konecranes – 20 Rubber Tired Gantry cranes (RTGs) and 4 Super Post Panamax cranes. The parties agreed not to reveal the costs of the order.

Well, we know that the Super Post Panamax cranes cost about $ 10 million apiece – because that’s what Seagirt in Baltimore revealed in June of 2012 – and those 20 RTGs are valued at somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 60 million. Add it up. That little order cost U.S. taxpayers and consumers about $ 100 million.

“We consider Konecranes a valued partner in our ongoing effort to build capacity and serve a growing sector of the U.S. market,” said Curtis Foltz, Executive Director of the GPA.

“Our cooperation with GPA goes back a long way and we are very proud to be a part of GPA’s forward-thinking growth strategy,” said the Sales and Marketing Director of Konecranes. “With their present fleet of 96 Konecranes and 18 STS (ship-to-shore) cranes, GPA is one of our largest and most important customers.”

Here’s what bothers us. The estimated outlay for those 116 Konecranes and 22 STS cranes comes to something like a half-billion dollars, and all that money (supposedly) went to Konecranes, a foreign manufacturer. That’s the kind of money that could have created hundreds of jobs in the U.S., and if that money had been paid out to American workers it would have been spent in this country – and would have had a positive effect on our economy, instead of the double-negative effect.

And another thing: As long as we’re talking about RTGs and STSs and GPAs, has anyone thought of calculating the ROI (Return On Investment) for the half- billion? Don’t bother. There will never be a “return” of any kind because that was taxpayer/consumer money that was thrown away, and those folks will never see a thin dime.

Imagine being paid a salary of about $ 300,000 annually, being able to spend enormous amounts of somebody else’s money – and keeping it from public scrutiny? Nice work if you can get it.

Oh but it’s “our ongoing effort to build capacity and serve a growing sector of the U.S. market,” states the Executive Director. More baloney.

The U.S. market isn’t “growing”, it’s rapidly diminishing. Retailers are going bankrupt and all container ports (including those administered by the GPA) are handling less and less imports every passing year, but these highly-paid port officials are still pretending that the expanded Panama Canal will entice carriers to bring oodles and oodles of foreign made goods to our shores.

Right. Even though no one ordered the goods – because most are jobless and broke – carriers will just dump the stuff off and be on their way. It’s the Christmas spirit, y’know.