The Port of Coos Bay’s proposed US$400 million channel modification project is gaining traction because of the increasing size of ships.
Oregon's seaport in the US, which processes 1.5 million tons of cargo every year, aims to become more competitive through dredging its channel to eight feet along more than eight miles of the Columbia River.
A 1,400-foot-long by 1,100-foot-wide basin would also be created at the upper end of the proposed modification for vessel manoeuvres.
The channel is currently 37 feet deep and 300 feet wide and would increase to 45 feet deep by 450 feet wide after the project’s completion, which port officials expect to have taken place by 2022.
In an interview with the Register Guard, Mike Dunning, Director of Maritime Operations of Port of Coos Bay, said it was important to attract larger ships due to the increase in cargo throughput.
He said: “We want to build a robust shipping port in Coos Bay but ships are getting bigger.”
A report by the port recently highlighted that its rail network was earning less revenue than planned due to lower volume and less cargo, resulting in it being unable to reach an estimated $286,000 additional surplus for the year to date.
Dunning added: “To maintain that rail and maintain all the bridges and structures we have on that system, we have to get more than 7,500 cars.
“That’s the reality, and we do that by increasing our shipping.”