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Charleston Harbor project qualifies for more federal funds

The funds will help advance the deepening of the harbor to 52 feet plus a 54-foot entrance channel.
Photo – South Carolina Ports Authority

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has announced $41.4 million in federal funding has been included in its fiscal-year 2019 Work Plan for the Charleston Harbor deepening project in South Carolina.

The funds will help advance the deepening of the harbor to 52 feet plus a 54-foot entrance channel. Construction of the harbor's entrance channel began in February.

USACE's Work Plan dollars brings the total federal funding of the deepening project to $108 million, said South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) officials in a press release.

The state has set aside $350 million toward the project, including a $50 million loan. Last month, the USACE completed an updated benefit cost ratio for the project that met the requirements necessary to be included in President Trump's federal budget, authority officials said.

The deepening project is necessary to accommodate larger ships now calling on U.S. East Coast ports, SCPA officials said.

"By 2021, the port will achieve 52 feet of depth, making it the deepest harbor on the East Coast," said SCPA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Newsome. "This depth advantage is vitally important for significant long-term volume growth and the deployment of large container ships."

Multiple 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) ships call on East Coast ports today. Port officials say it's likely that an 18,000-TEU ship will be deployed on the coast by next year. To serve such large ships, ports require harbors of 50 feet or more in draft to remove navigation restrictions.

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More News from 11/27/2018