Pilots who guide ships on the Mississippi River from its mouth to New Orleans last week put a new restriction on vessel draft because of silt accumulating in the channel.
The Associated Branch Pilots said that ships in the Southwest Pass may not draw more than 44 feet, one foot shallower than its authorized depth.
According to the Big River Coalition, loss of a foot in depth may cost exporters some $250,000 to $800,000 per ship in lost cargo capacity. Ports along the Mississippi River manage some $100 billion in exports annually.
Harbor Maintenance Trust news from JOC:
Ports Digging Deeper
The coalition is urging Congress to restore funding for maintenance dredging on the river to its historical average of $100 million per year. After budget cuts last year, the Army Corps of Engineers allocated $63 million.
The coalition also argues that a $5.6 billion surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund should be fully spent on harbor and channel maintenance.
-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at email@example.com.