“It would make sense for the United States to analyze facilities and determine how many deepwater ports are needed, according to Wainio. “We don’t do national planning it’s every man for himself,” he said.”

Professional Mariner

Issue Date: Issue #102, Feb/Mar 2007
David Tyler

As East Coast and Gulf ports plan for the expansion, decisions have to be made regarding the huge infrastructure investments needed to handle post-Panamax vessels. New York/New Jersey, Norfolk, Houston and Miami are just some of the ports that can accommodate or are working to accommodate post-Panamax vessels. Improvements include larger distribution centers, new gantry cranes, upgraded rail connections and channel dredging.

It would make sense for the United States to analyze facilities and determine how many deepwater ports are needed, according to Wainio. “We don’t do national planning it’s every man for himself,” he said.

Ports will be seeking federal funds to help build new facilities and dredge deeper channels for the post-Panamax ships. “The money simply isn’t there for every port from Maine to Miami to be dredged to 50 or 55 feet,” Wainio said.

But Valleau, of the North Atlantic Ports Association, said port officials need to consider carefully what they really need before coming up with big expansion proposals. “I’m conservative about this,” he said. “I wouldn’t recommend that all ports hasten out and go dredging to 60 feet and investing a billion dollars to buy the cranes and create the inland systems that are necessary … It’s a very complicated business calculation.”

And there will still be a need for ports to handle the smaller vessels, “because not all of these ships are oversized, post-Panamax ships   many of them aren’t,” Valleau said. “We need the mix.”

Read the full story at Professional Mariner

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