Port Officials & Businesses Laud U.S. Senator Feinstein for Her Role in Helping Port Receive Increased Dredging Funds to Deepen Navigation Channel
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) yesterday delivered to Congress its Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) work plans for the Army Civil Works program, including $7.7 million to dredge the Port of Redwood City’s navigation channel.
Ecstatic Port officials lauded U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein for her role in helping efforts to raise the amount by an additional $5,015,000 over what was initially budgeted.
The Port of Redwood City navigation channel is currently at -24 feet, well short of the authorized depth of -30 feet. Channel depth is a critical factor in determining operating costs and the price of materials shipped through the Port. Port customers told the USACE and Senator Feinstein that their businesses transporting construction materials to Silicon Valley and throughout the Bay Area were being adversely hindered because of the channel’s depth.
“To compensate for the shallower channel, ships are typically light loaded by shifting materials to shallow draft barges within the Bay,” said Port Commission Chair Lorianna Kastrop. “In addition to light loading, companies respond to the inadequate channel depth by offloading at other ports farther north in the Bay, and then truck materials to Silicon Valley. This adds to highway congestion and emissions throughout the Bay Area. In fact, every ship that does not call on the Port of Redwood City adds between 1,500 and 1,750 trucks to Bay Area highways.”
According to the USACE San Francisco District, $8.0 million is required to restore the channel to full project depth. The President’s budget request – and therefore the FYl4 omnibus appropriations bill – included $2.75 million for the Redwood City project, meaning that $5.25 million in additional funding is needed to restore the channel to full project depth.
“Fortunately, the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Bill included additional funding for projects that ‘will enhance national, regional, or local economic development’ and takes into consideration ‘lack of alternative means of freight movement, and savings over alternative means of freight movement,'” Port Executive Director Michael J. Giari said.
Dredging could start this September and take two months.
In illustrating the cost impacts of the channel’s current depth, Seaport Industrial Association Executive Director Greg Greenway said, “Lightening the draft of one ship by two feet using a barge adds about $30,000 in extra costs, raising the price of construction materials throughout the South Bay and Silicon Valley.” SIA represents Port and industrial businesses in Redwood City.
Another example was presented to the Corp and Senator Feinstein by Flenrik Friis, an executive with CSL International (Canada Steamship Lines).
“CSL Americas provides marine transportation to numerous co
|CSL Tacoma calls at Port
nstruction interests operating throughout the Bay area delivering gypsum, aggregates and sand. These last two products have been specified by CalTrans for projects such as the Bay Bridge, the Caldecott Tunnel and the Trans Bay Transit Center,” Friis said. “In 2013, CSL delivered in excess of one million tons to Redwood City and for 2014 we anticipate nearly doubling this amount as the aggregates supplier to the new Apple campus while continuing to supply material for build out of Levis’ stadium complex in Santa Clara.”
Continuing, he asserted, “For companies that utilize the Port of’ Redwood City, the depth of the navigation channel serving the Port is a critical factor in determining operating costs, and ultimately, the price of construction materials that are destined for Silicon Valley construction projects.”