03.08.17

SCHUMER CALLS ON FEDS TO SIGN OFF ON AGREEMENT CLEARING FUNDS TO DEEPEN OGDENSBURG HARBOR, WHICH WAS LAST DREDGED IN 1984; DEEPENING HARBOR WILL INCREASE SHIPPING EFFICIENCY & UNLOCK NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE PORT OF OGDENSBURG

Lack Of Dredging Over The Years Has Resulted In Unnecessary Congestion, Increased Handling Costs, And Lost Business Opportunities 

Schumer Says With Feasibility Study Completed; It Is Now Time For The Feds To Do Their Part & Sign on the Bottom Line; The Feds Must  Expedite Final Approval 

Schumer: Federal  Funds Are Needed To Keep Ogdensburg Harbor Clear For Business

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Acting Secretary of Army Civil Works to approve an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to release critical funds to dredge the Ogdensburg Harbor. Last dredged in 1984, the Ogdensburg Harbor is still in desperate need of deepening, which will ease congestion, reduce shipping costs and unlock new business opportunities. The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority said the Port’s Project Partnership Agreement (PPA)  for deepening the harbor was sent to the Acting Secretary for Civil Works Doug Lamont, and is now waiting for approval. Schumer said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed its feasibility study that was initiated in 2011 and the project’s next step will need  final approval from the Acting Secretary, making this a critical point in the long-awaited project. Home to the only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence River, Ogdensburg Harbor plays a key role in the regional economy; keeping this harbor navigable and maintained will ensure that Northern New York and the St. Lawrence Seaway will continue to see the benefits associated with Ogdensburg Harbor for years to come.

“We need to deepen Ogdensburg Harbor so the Port can continue to be a major hub of job creation and economic activity. It is critical that we keep this channel navigable to stimulate commercial activity and continued growth,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “That is why I am strongly urging the Acting Secretary Doug Lamont to approve the Project Partnership Agreement, and start the implementation critical to deepening this harbor for the first time in more than three decades. Keeping this harbor navigable will not only clear the way for commerce, it will also clear the way for new local jobs and economic development.”

Schumer explained that the Ogdensburg Harbor is located at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River and is the only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence Seaway and is the closest U.S. Seaway Port to Europe. It is also the northernmost port in New York. Owned and operated by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, the Port of Ogdensburg provides a full range of terminal services at its deep draft commercial harbor, where the main commodities shipped and received include road salt and corn gluten, and also include other grains, fertilizers and project cargo like wind mill parts. Between 2008 and 2012, the port shipped and received an average tonnage of 105k tons. Overall, Schumer explained that the port generates more than $4 million annually in direct revenue. It also supports 31 direct, indirect and induced jobs that produce over $2 million per year in personal income. On top of this, Schumer said the Ogdensburg Harbor is also a benefit to the region because it is home to an auxiliary U.S. Coast Guard station.

For these reasons, Schumer said the harbor is a critical asset to the region, and it should therefore be maintained properly in order to help sustain the regional economy and contribute to economic development. That’s why Schumer said it is concerning the harbor was last dredged in 1984. Schumer said that while the harbor requires dredging on an infrequent basis, more than three decades of bureaucratic ineptitude have resulted in lost business opportunities at the port because the harbor’s main dock is inaccessible for Seaway vessels. This is causing unnecessary congestion, increased handling costs and lost business opportunities.  Schumer is therefore urging the Acting Secretary of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve the Project Partnership Agreement, which is needed to dredge the port under the Army’s Civil Work’s Continuing Authorities Program, section 107 of the of the River and Harbor Act of 1960. The Project Partnership Agreement between The United States Army Corps of Engineers’ and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s proposes navigation improvements by deepening and widening the Lower East Channel and Lower Basin to 27 feet. When funded, the deepening of the harbor will increase capacity, reduce costs and expand and diversify traffic at the port.

Schumer added without deepening the harbor, continued losses of channel depth would result in increased transportation costs between $670,000 and $820,000 or at worst the port could close to commercial traffic. According to the port, if the harbor were to be closed to commercial traffic, commodities would have to be transported by rail. This would increase annual emission rates by over 43 tons of harmful particulate matter and increase costs by $37,000 due to increased railroad related accidents. Schumer therefore said this critical dredging project must be approved, as the Ogdensburg Harbor plays a major role in the regional economy and keeping this harbor navigable and maintained will ensure that Northern New York and St. Lawrence Seaway continue to see the benefits associated with Ogdensburg Harbor in the years to come.

This project comes at an opportune time for the Port of Ogdensburg, which, in 2015, received $10 million dollars in New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) funding to extend its Dock Wall, creating a second vessel berth at seaway depth by adding 500 feet of dock to the existing 1,200 feet, square up the port’s dock face and expand storage facilities. Taken together, the dredging, dock upgrades and storage expansion would enable two or more ships to come to port and unload their cargo and enable over $2 million in synergies of done concurrently.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army Civil Works:

Dear Acting Secretary Doug Lamont:

I write to reiterate my support for the deepening of the Ogdensburg Harbor under the Continuing Authorities Program, Section 107 of the River and Harbor Act of 1960. This project, which will deepen the harbor to seaway depth, is of critical importance to the North Country’s economy. It is my hope that you will swiftly sign the recently completed Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) between Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so the project may proceed to the implementation phase.

Located at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River in Ogdensburg, NY, the Ogdensburg Harbor is home to the only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence River, the first U.S. port on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and is the northernmost port in New York State. Owned and operated by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, the Port of Ogdensburg provides a full range of terminal services and generates over $4 million annually in direct revenue.

Last dredged in 1984, lack of depth causes unnecessary congestion, increased handling costs and lost business opportunities. Without deepening the harbor, transportation cost could increase between $670,000 and $820,000 annually or at worst, the port could close to commercial traffic.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers’ and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s Project Partnership Agreement proposes navigation improvements by deepening and widening the Lower East Channel and Lower Basin to 27 feet. When funded, the deepening of the harbor will increase capacity, reduce costs and expand and diversify traffic at the port. It is my hope that you will dedicate the appropriate resources to examine and approve this critical project.

Thank you for your consideration of this important project. The Ogdensburg Harbor plays a key role in the regional economy; keeping this harbor navigable and maintained will ensure that Northern New York and St. Lawrence Seaway will continue to see the benefits associated with Ogdensburg Harbor in the years to come.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator 

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