Port focused on dredging, foreclosure

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 09:53 AM.

With marketing efforts in full swing, a port master plan update moving ahead, the Port St. Joe Port Authority last week discussed a priority for future development of the Port of Port St. Joe – dredging.

Jorge Gonzalez, senior vice president of The St. Joe Company, with which the Port Authority is working on a collaborative agreement to develop the port, said that he and port director Tommy Pitts had a positive meeting recently with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile, AL.

Gonzalez also said his company had been in touch with state officials to begin moving the ball ahead on dredging of the deepwater shipping channel.

The ship channel is authorized for dredging up to 35 feet, but dredging has not taken place in more than two decades.

And while the collaboration between port and St. Joe has provided a larger port footprint to market and a Florida Department of Transportation grant will fund improvements to the Genesee Wyoming rail line connecting the port to points north, creating a deeper shipping channel is essential to developing the port.

“We all understand and agree that dredging is a big part of moving forward,” Gonzalez said.

Dredging, Gonzalez added, was the most complex aspect of growing the port and had the longest lead time from applying to the Corps and having the work performed. He also noted that dredging will be the most expensive aspect of developing the port.

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