USA: Dredging is the Lifeline of Port of Baltimore, Official Says

Continuing their commitment to attract private-sector expertise to address unique transportation challenges, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Port Administration (MPA) recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking ideas and best practices for converting material dredged from Baltimore Harbor shipping channels into an environmentally-safe aggregate used in the construction / building industries.

MPA is exploring the potential of developing a public-private partnership (P3) to take material already placed at the Cox Creek Dredged Material Containment Facility and convert it into a light-weight aggregate used in masonry blocks, concrete, hot-mix asphalt and geotechnical fill.

Dredging is the lifeline of the Port of Baltimore,” said MPA Executive Director James J. White.

Without properly maintained shipping channels, the huge ships of today and supersized ones of tomorrow could not safely travel to and from the Port. Our long-term challenge, faced by Ports across the world, is where to place the material dredged from these shipping channels. By seeking the expertise from private industry, we can potentially increase our placement options by creating an environmentally-beneficial product, which may provide relief to the dwindling capacity at current sites like Cox Creek.”

With a 50-foot-deep shipping channel, Baltimore is one of only two ports on the U.S. East Coast currently able to handle large Super Post-Panamax ships that will use the newly enlarged Panama Canal when construction is completed by 2015.

To maintain these shipping channels, approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of material must be dredged from the Baltimore Harbor annually.

Dredged material from the Harbor is then placed at containment facilities, including Cox Creek and Masonville.

While capacity remains at these sites, the MPA has been investigating best practices to increase dredged material placement capacity while researching possible beneficial reuse ideas.

The MPA successfully completed a demonstration project in January 2012 by converting dredged material into a light-weight aggregate. The RFI will help the State determine if there is a cost effective and competitive marketplace for the environmentally-safe aggregate.

Press Release, February 3, 2014

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