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St Johns River dredging "could cost US$1 billion"

News // February 26, 2009

Dredging the St Johns River to allow larger cargo ships to use the expanding port facilities in Jacksonville will cost between US$500 million and US$1 billion, according to the head of Mitsui’s Jacksonville terminal.

Dennis Kelly, general manager of the new terminal, told Charlotte Business Journal that Jaxport will be in heavy competition with other East Coast ports to get federal funding for the dredging because the other ports also need deeper channels to handle the larger ships that will be using the Panama Canal, once the enlarging of the canal is complete in 2014.

“It’s going to be interesting to see who gets it [dredging funding], and when,” Kelly told a Tuesday lunch meeting of The Economic Roundtable of Jacksonville at Jacksonville University.

He said the river channel will need to be dredged to a depth of 50ft.

Kelly said the US Navy’s plans to base a nuclear aircraft carrier at Mayport will help Jacksonville compete for the dredging money, because the carrier will also need a deeper channel in the St Johns to access the Mayport base.

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