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Dredging commences at Canada’s Sydney Harbour

  • CAN$38 million dredging project starts at Sydney Harbour, Nova Scotia

  • Government-funded project expected to be completed by the end of the year

The CAN$38 million dredging project at Sydney Harbour began earlier this week, as the port located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia looks to welcome some of the world’s largest ships to its docks.

Funded by the Province of Ottawa, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia Power, the project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2011.

“It’s the culmination of four and a half years of work on the part of a lot of hard-working people,” Jim Wooder, manager of the dredging operation for Sydney Ports Corporation, told the Chronicle Herald.

“We’ll have a deep-water port with such potential opportunities we don’t even know how good it could be, and we’ll be open to the world,” he said.

“We got a call from a coal producer in Virginia, looking for places to export their coal from and that was a completely unsolicited proposal. Who would have ever thought we’d get such an interest but, while coal use is declining in North America, it is growing in the Far East,” added Wooder.

“It’s not abstract anymore because the dredging is taking place and now it’s up to us to turn it into something positive. Once this is finished, then we’re in the game.”

The dredging project began with the Dutch vessel Oranje dredging the entrance to the harbor of Sydney Port on Sunday morning.

More than 4 million cubic metres of seabed materials are set to be removed from Sydney Harbour, which will see the access channel reach a depth of 17 meters.

The sediment from the channel will be moved to the Sydport Industrial Park where the material will be used to create a disposal field, with the potential of becoming the platform for a future marine terminal.

When the project is completed, Sydney Port will be in direct competition with the Port of Norfolk in the US state of Virginia. Norfolk is currently the only port on the American Eastern Seaboard accessible to the largest container vessels operating the world’s oceans.


Staff Writer: Linton Nightingale