USA: Port Hopes for Fast Houston Channel Dredging Decision

Port Hopes for Fast Houston Channel Dredging Decision

Port officials hope to receive a response as early as this week on an application to deepen and widen a 3.5-mile waterway that links to the main Houston Ship Channel, and possibly to create an artificial marsh from dredge spoils, informs chron.com.

The Houston Ship Channel was designed to carry ships at a maximum depth of 45 feet. But that may not be deep enough.“The new bigger ships, what they now call Panamax ships, need at least a 50-foot depth,” says William Merrell, holder of the George P. Mitchell Chair at the Galveston campus.

The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and is second in total cargo tonnage. It is the 10th largest port in the world. A 2012 economic impact study showed that more than 1.1 million jobs in Texas and nearly $179 billion of annual statewide economic activity were in some way related to cargo moving through the port.

Houston Yacht Club and Galveston Bay Foundation oppose that plan, fearing the impact that dredging would have on the environment.

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, July 25, 2012; Image: usace

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