$12 million for deepening study, maintenance

South Carolina’s seaports in Charleston and Georgetown stand to gain more than $12 million in additional funding for deepening studies and channel maintenance following action in the US House of Representatives this week.

The Port of Charleston is currently 47 feet deep at mean low water in the entrance channel and 45 feet inside the harbor. Charleston’s channels have the opportunity to go even deeper thanks to funding for the resumption of a reconnaissance study on future deepening.

“With a 45-foot draft at low water, Charleston already has the region’s deepest channels and can accommodate post-Panamax ships today,” said David J. Posek, chairman of the South Carolina State Ports Authority. “The new project would take Charleston beyond 45 feet, opening the port to all classes of the world’s most modern vessels.  We are ready for the Panama Canal expansion and beyond.”

After final approval by the US House and Senate, and passage of the Energy & Water appropriations bill, Charleston Harbor will also receive $1,798,000 for dredged material disposal facilities and an additional $10.7 million for maintenance dredging work.

“The Ports of Charleston and Georgetown will be even more competitive,” said Posek, “thanks to the action of Congressman Henry Brown, as well as the support of our allies and our Congressional delegation.”

Another $1 million will go to needed maintenance dredging in Georgetown’s 27-foot authorized channel.

“There are several new cargo accounts eyeing Georgetown, and adequate draft will help close those deals and bring these new projects, jobs and investment to our state,” said Posek. “We are committed to enhancing Georgetown’s position and are aggressively pursuing new business for the port.”

The action on the projects came in the House Energy & Water Appropriations subcommittee.