The proposed expansion of Port Everglades, one of the country’s deepest and busiest ports, to accommodate an enlarged Panama Canal would improve safety and lessen delays, but not without significant cost, both financial and environmental, according to a recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study.
The deepening from 42 to 48 feet would cost $313 million, with the federal government covering two-thirds of the funds and the remaining $102 million covered by state funds and fees levied on ships, the study said.
A project to deepen the Panama Canal from 40 to 60 feet by 2015 is on track, ports along the eastern seaboard are planning to ensure their harbors, which facilitate billions of dollars in annual trade, can berth a new generation of super-sized cargo ships.
Most of the nearly 300-page June report is devoted to explaining how the Corps will “compensate for the unavoidable adverse effects of [port expansion] on various significant habitat types.”
The release of the Corps’ report initiated a 45-day public comment period, as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. –Emily Schmall