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.