While it’s not quite a case of let the dredging begin, Charleston Harbour in South Carolina is much nearer its major deepening project after a big thumbs up from the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The project, when seen to completion, will make Charleston the deepest port on the US East Coast and perfectly poised to receive the anticipated wave of post-Panamaxes and other very large vessels. This will be especially advantageous once the Panama Canal expansion is in effect.
The economic benefits of being a magnet for mega-sized container ships will accrue beyond South Carolina to neighbouring states and the whole southeast, advocates say.
According to the Corps’ report, the Harbour channel can be extended to 52 feet with an entrance channel depth of 54 feet. It also recommended expanding the turning basins to make them friendly to the new behemoths.
Federal funding has been applied to this development’s preconstruction and design phase, which the Obama administration identified as an urgent infrastructure upgrade.
There are a few more levels of approval needed, culminating in a US Congress review but, if all things go well, work could begin in early 2016.