Remaining operationally viable key for Port Authority of Port St. Joe

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 09:28 AM.

That agreement is ready to be set in stone with the engineering firm of Hatch Mott McDonald, one of the engineering firms of record with the port. Preble Rish Engineers is also involved with that team.

“We are ready to proceed with the task agreement,” Pitts said.

The economic fuel for the dredging, the key factor, is two Letters of Intent the St. Joe Company has entered into with regional energy companies to ship wood pellets through the Port of Port St. Joe.

The two LOIs anticipate as much as 1 million metric tons being shipped through the port within five or so years. The LOIs, however, are contingent on dredging the shipping channel within the next two to three years.

Even without the two LOIs, port officials have long said that any port development – and the jobs that would accompany it – would hinge on dredging a channel that has not been dredged in nearly 30 years.

“You have to get the channel dredged if you want a port in Port St. Joe,” said Port Authority board member Eugene Raffield. “You have to have it. This has the potential to be the biggest thing that ever happened in Port St. Joe.”

The port, Raffield added, sits at critical juncture. After nearly a decade of discussions and “visioning” with the St. Joe Company and local stakeholders, the past 18 months have brought progress.



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