Trump Sets Aside USD 138 Mn for Charleston Deepening Project

The 52-foot Charleston Harbor Deepening Project received USD 138 million of funding for construction in the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget announced this week.

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

According to the South Carolina Ports Authority, the funding represents a milestone that provides an opportunity for the project to receive Congressional funding for construction.

Inclusion in the President’s Budget makes the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project eligible for direct appropriations by Congress through the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill this year.

“We are grateful to the Trump Administration for recognizing the value of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project with an outstanding allocation in this year’s budget,” said Bill Stern, SCPA Board Chair.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) recalculation of the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) to a new score of 6.4 last fall, driven primarily by SCPA’s container cargo volume growth, allowed the project to meet the threshold for consideration in the President’s Budget.

“By 2021 SCPA and the state will have invested more than USD 2 billion in port infrastructure to support the booming growth of both population and manufacturing in the region. Our deepening project answers the need for a Southeastern port to handle 14,000 to 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent container unit (TEU) vessels drafting 50 feet or more without significant depth and other navigation restrictions,” Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, said.

Construction work began on the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel in February 2018 following the awarding of the first two dredging contracts, totaling USD 260 million, by USACE. Deepening the harbor up to SCPA’s busiest container terminal, the Wando Welch, is expected by early 2021 in what will be a record construction period of only 40 months.