Deepened Delaware River Channel Should Boost Commerce

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With 60 percent of the Delaware River navigation channel now at or deeper than 45 feet, steamship lines and port officials say the dredging will do two things:

Put more cargo on ships currently coming into the ports of Wilmington, Philadelphia, and South Jersey, and allow larger ships from Asia to sail the river when the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015.

It’s been 30 years since Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to investigate the feasibility of deepening the channel from 40 feet to 45.

Since the project began in March 2010, 42 miles of the 102-mile channel from Camden to the Atlantic Ocean have been deepened.  Thirty-five miles are already naturally at or below 45 feet, which leaves about 25 miles left to be dredged.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130707_Deepened_river_channel_should_boost_commerce.html#3Lq7HTFsuY5Yy3zG.99

Pittsburgh Gets 2 New Tugs, 1st Built In 30 Years

English: Opekiska Lock and Dam on the Monongah...

English: Opekiska Lock and Dam on the Monongahela River. The dam is located about seven miles northeast (downriver) from Fairmont, West Virginia, at river mile 115.4. The lock and dam were constructed 1961–64 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation on the Monongahela River, replacing 60-year-old locks 14 and 15. View is downriver to the northeast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh-based marine services company has built two new tugboats, a reminder that the old business of pushing barges along rivers continues even in modern times.

Campbell Transportation christened the Renee Lynn and the Alice Jean at a riverside ceremony last week.  The 65-foot-long, 24-foot-wide boats are the first new major vessels built in Pittsburgh in 30 years, the company said.

The Port of Pittsburgh ranked 21st in the nation in terms of total tonnage in 2011, which means it handled more traffic than ports in Philadelphia, Tampa, Fla., or Seattle, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Technically, the river tugs that push barges are called towboats, while those that push ships in harbors are called tugboats.  But the general public calls them all tugboats.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130704/NEWS03/130709833/pittsburgh-gets-2-new-tugs-1st-built-in-30-years#full_story

South End Residents Call For Ocean City, NJ Beach Rebuilding

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OCEAN CITY, N.J. – At the north end of town, a 309-foot dredge operated by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. of Oak Brook, Ill., has been operating 24 hours a day for several days, in a project that will pump 1.8 million cubic yards of sand from the ocean floor onto the beaches.

There’s no such whoosh of beach-rebuilding at the south end, leaving homeowners there puzzled and upset, especially since Sandy left their shoreline in even worse shape.

City officials said that the north-end project was in the works even before the storm struck and that they are unsure what federal aid might be forthcoming to do more right away.

That’s not a good enough explanation for south-end homeowners, many of whom also depend on vacation-rental income.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20130221_South_end_residents_call_for_Ocean_City_beach_rebuilding.html

Drought May Sink Mississippi River Commerce

ABOARD THE DREDGE POTTER, on the Mississippi River — This ship is making sure that the Big River, shrinking under one of the worst droughts in modern history, stays deep enough.

The Potter is scooping this stretch of the Mississippi River’s navigation channel just south of St. Louis, the ship’s 32-foot-wide head sucking up about 60,000 cubic yards of sediment each day and depositing it via a long discharge pipe a thousand feet to the side in a violent, muddy plume that smells like muck and summer.

The Army Corps of Engineers has more than a dozen dredging vessels working the Mississippi this summer.  Despite being fed by water flowing in from more than 40 percent of the United States, the river is feeling the ruinous drought affecting so much of the Midwest.  Some stretches are nearing the record low-water levels experienced in 1988, when river traffic was suspended in several spots.

That is unlikely this year, because of careful engineering work to keep the largest inland marine system in the world passable.  But tow operators are dealing with the shallower channel by hauling fewer barges, loading them lighter and running them more slowly, raising their costs.  Since May, about 60 vessels have run aground in the lower Mississippi.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/drought-may-sink-mississippi-river-commerce-649733/#ixzz246DvXrjq