Thursday, July 12, 2012
South Carolina port gets good news on channel deepening
The South Carolina State Port Authority's container port in Charleston says it can get its shipping draft down to 50 feet faster than originally projected and at less cost as the countdown continues for East Coast container ports readying for the widened Panama Canal in 2015.
The port announced that the Army Corps of Engineers' feasibility study reveals that the Charleston harbor can be deepened in less than four years as opposed to a range of 5-8 years, and that the cost of the study will be $15 million instead of $20 million.
"The deepening of Charleston Harbor is the number one strategic priority for this port community," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority in a statement.
"We are encouraged by today's news that Charleston's deepening project will be considered a national example for completing studies more expeditiously," he said.
The Corps' news this week arrives on the heels of last month's announcement that the South Carolina Legislature pledged $300 million in state funds towards the harbor-deepening project that would cover the entire estimated cost upon authorization from U.S. Congress.
"Today's announcement is a step in the right direction, but there is more that needs to be done," said Senator Lindsey Graham in a statement.
"We still need a national vision that ensures Charleston, and other ports, are ready to meet the biggest change in international shipping in the last hundred years. So while I appreciate today's announcement, I also know Congress has to step up and provide the regulatory relief and funding we desperately need to push this process forward. Time is of the essence and we have to get this done," Sen. Graham said.
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