Harbor deepening discussed at SC International Trade Conference - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Harbor deepening discussed at SC International Trade Conference

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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV)—The president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority spoke Wednesday at the South Carolina International Trade Conference in Wild Dunes.

The theme of Jim Newsome's speech at the conference was how much Charleston will benefit from the Harbor Deepening project and how the process needs to be moved along quickly, now that it is fully funded and approved.  

The port will eventually go from 45- to 50-feet deep, to allow larger ships in and out. Back in July, President Obama gave the project a major shot in the arm, announcing that the White House will expedite the project. The new completion date is now 2020, but Newsome isn't convinced. 

"This is the work horse; this is the future of the East Coast," Newsome explained. "People are talking about 2020 now, and I'll say again, that's way too long. We've got to work faster than that. 2020 is not good enough; we continue to work with our partners with the Army Corp of Engineers. I think 2018 is a good date. I think we have to move it faster, there's nothing really more to prove about the justification for it. The future is now for our port." 

Newsome said the project will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from the container ship industry, and provide countless jobs.  

"We have the chance now if we do our job right, if we work together as a community, and really commit to attract business here; I really think we have a lot of opportunity." 

Newsome ended the conference with a list of accomplishments, such as converting Columbus Street and installing a railroad dredge. He also took the time to address infrastructure, human resources and technical education issues that come with being a port city.  

The port of Charleston was one of seven infrastructure projects that received Obama's blessing as part of the president's "We Can't Wait" initiative. 

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