Army Corps of Engineers to study dredging of Port of Ogdensburg
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 11:45 am

OGDENSBURG -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to study the feasibility of dredging the Port of Ogdensburg for the first time since 1984, deepening the inner harbor and making it available to more ships.

Ogdensburg’s harbor is the northernmost port in New York State and the only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence Seaway, where cargo shipping is again on the rise in the first five weeks of the 2012 waterway season.

“This is the right decision for the North Country’s economy,” Gillibrand said. “When we open up greater access to the Port of Ogdensburg, we can connect more of our businesses and workers, and sell more products to the world that are made in America to help grow our economy and bring new jobs to New York.”

After hosting an economic development roundtable in St. Lawrence Country in 2009, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pledged to work with community leaders to increase shipping through Ogdensburg, and led the effort to advocate the Army Corps of Engineers to make dredging the port a priority.

“The Authority greatly appreciates the efforts of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in securing the badly needed USACE study for the Port of Ogdensburg,” said Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davi,. “The USACE study is essential to future job creation and regional economic development as the deepening of the Port of Ogdensburg is a critical business need.”

Owned and operated by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, the Port of Ogdensburg provides a full range of marine terminal services, serving a number of large cities in northern New York State, including Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Utica.

Currently, the port’s main dock is inaccessible for Seaway vessels due to shallow waters. This restricts loading and unloading operations, forcing material to be relocated to the inner harbor areas for storage rather than storage areas on the main dock.

If funded, dredging of the main dock and inner harbor would allow vessels to unload directly at the main dock storage areas, as well as at inner harbor storage pads for self-unloading vessels, reducing costs for the port and making for a more time-efficient process.

In May 2009, Senator Gillibrand held an economic development roundtable in Massena with local business and community leaders to discuss the latest economic development efforts for the North Country and how she can assist and promote local growth.

In a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gillibrand wrote in support of the St. Lawrence Seaway dredging project, saying, “The estimated $3,000,000 in funds would be used to dredge the main dock channel and inner harbor area around the City of Ogdensburg’s port, allowing for greater port accessibility for Seaway shipping vessels… This dredging project is essential to the Port of Ogdensburg continuing its vital marine services for New York State. I ask that you please give this application your full consideration.”

Gillibrand renewed that call in May 2012 in a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, requesting the approval to move forward on the necessary feasibility study for deepening the Port of Ogdensburg.

Last dredged in 1984, the current sediment backlog within the functional harbor areas is estimated at approximately 74,000 cubic yards. Without dredging, the port risks shoaling and reduced channel dimensions, resulting in light loading, increased transportation costs and unsafe navigation conditions.

The Port of Ogdensburg’s activity supports an estimated 40 jobs and brings $5 million in direct revenue into the region’s economy.