now chairs Ports Authority
as Savannah facility named for his uncle
Editor and Publisher
SAVANNAH, July 30, 2001 -- On the day when a major
new facility was named for his late uncle, Keith Mason of Duluth
was sworn in as chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority here this
The James D. Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility is a
mouthful, and no doubt Jimmy Mason, like many of the speakers today,
would have at least slowed down, if not stumbled, over such a mouthful.
But Jimmy, had he still lived, would have beamed with pride as he
told the world of this new facility to benefit Georgians.
Gov. Roy Barnes spoke, then clipped the ribbon, as Keith and members
of the Georgia Ports Authority, a large contingent of Mason family
members, a throng of Gwinnettians, and hundreds of Georgians looked
And though a rain shower passed nearby, the skies were dry during
the ceremony at the facility, just yards from the Savannah River.
The new "intermodal container transfer facility" is essentially
four 2,500 foot long rail tracks used to accept those 20 (and 40)
foot shipping containers directly from ships at the nearby harbor
docks. Altogether, the new facility at its build-out, will be on
150 acres, and include 40,000 feet of track for container storage
and train assembly.
The new facility will ensure overnight shipment to (and from) Atlanta
and other points.
The containers come directly from ship to train (or vice versa),
and in the process eliminate the terms "marshalling" and
"drayage" from shipper's vocabulary. No longer will these
containers sit for hours (or days) in a terminal yard, awaiting
movement. That means no drayage or marshalling costs, plus quicker
And everyone knows that time means money. Jimmy, himself a former
Ports Authority chairman, would have immediately recognized this
advantage. It is what he would have used to tell people all around
the world about another benefit of them using the Georgia ports,
had he still been a member of the Authority. Can't you picture in
your mind's eye the ever smiling and happy Jimmy using this state-of-the-art
facility, the only one of its kind on the East Coast, to promote
Now this mantle moves to the shoulders of one of Jimmy's pride,
his nephew Keith. He inherits that same zeal for improving Georgia
that his Uncle Jimmy showed, his zest for making Georgia a better
place that his daddy, Wayne, still enjoys.
Keith Mason is poised in perfect position to make things happen
at the ports. He'll be good for the Ports Authority and for Georgia.
* * * * *
The guest list from Gwinnett read like a who's who of the power
crowd. Assorted Masons dotted the sprawling white tent under which
the ceremonies were held, as was Martha Byrd, the first voice you
hear when you called the Mason brothers' office. Former County Commissioners
Tommy Hughes, Judy Waters and Bill Atkinson were there, as were
Sen. Billy Ray, former Sen. Steve Reynolds and Chamber President
Richard Tucker. Snellville was well represented by former Mayor
Emmett Clower and ex-Councilman Wayne Odum. From Grayson came Mayor
Doug Wilkerson. Former School Supt. J.W. Benefield was present,
as were John D. Stephens, Barbara King, ex-Chamber President Tom
Andersen, ex-banker Jim Pack, as well as developers Tim Connolly,
Rudy Bowen and Millard Bowen.
A painting of Jimmy Mason now hangs in the lobby of the Intermodal
Terminal. Jimmy would have been proud!
More carrots needed for transportation
July 30, 3001:
Editor, the Forum:
Alphabet soup in Gwinnett County. It's CTP (Comprehensive Transportation
Plan). An article in the Friday edition of Gwinnett Daily Post,
lists the proposed expenditures for $1.1 billion. The smallest item
on the list is mass transportation. Seems to me that since getting
autos off the road is touted as the way to clean up the atmosphere,
a larger carrot on the end of the stick needs to hang in front of
the buses or trains..
-- E.F. Stuart, Norcross
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