USA: Obama Administration to Speed Up Jaxport Deepening Study
In the aftermath of the Jaxport CEO Paul Anderson’s testimony before Congress last year on the necessity for development of Jacksonville Port, it appears that a green light will be given to the dredging project allowing more heavily-loaded and larger ships to pass through the port, WOKV writes.
The word is that the good news will be given by the President Obama at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, who will most probably announce completion of a study, necessary for the Jaxport dredging project to move ahead.
Deepening of the port is extremely important in respect to increasing the port’s capacities, especially once the Panama Canal is expanded.
The port development project includes adding of a dozen new foreign terminals and deepening of its channel to 50 feet over the next three to four years, bringing thousands of new jobs to the area.
Specifically, the Mile Point dredging project at Jaxport, the point where the St. Johns River converges with the intercoastal waterway, will allow more than just the 8 hour window available now during low tide for bigger ships to go enter and exit the port.
Mile Point consists of 5,000 feet of shoreline located along the north shore of the St. Johns River and east of the Intracoastal Waterway (IWW). Great Marsh Island and the Mile Point Training Wall divide Chicopit Bay. The confluence of the St. Johns River with the IWW is known as Mile Point, an area that experiences difficult crosscurrents on the ebb tide. Due to these crosscurrents there is navigational restriction on the ebb tide that affects all vessels that have a transit draft greater than 33 feet inbound and 36 feet outbound, inhibiting the free movement of vessel traffic.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) signed the Project Design Agreement on May 23 during a ceremony at JAXPORT’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal. The joint signing of this agreement will allow the design of the project to move forward.
The recommended plan combines relocation/reconfiguration of the existing training wall, restoration of Great Marsh Island, and the creation of a flow improvement channel in Chicopit Bay. The estimated total cost for the Recommended Plan is $36.5 million, which is cost shared 65% Federal and 35% non-Federal.
Jaxport owns and manages three cargo terminals in Jacksonville, Fla., including the Blount Island Marine Terminal, the Dames Point Marine Terminal and the Talleyrand Marine Terminal.
The port embodies a USD 19 billion worth economic apparatus, transferring circa 8 million tons of cargo on annual basis.
Dredging Today Staff, July 19, 2012; Image: jaxport