June 05, 2009

Gillibrand Urges Feds to Dredge Port of Ogdensburg

St. Lawrence Seaway Cargo Numbers Down 40 Percent This Shipping Season

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the federal government to make dredging of the Port of Ogdensburg a priority. Recent statistics have shown that cargo shipments along the St. Lawrence Seaway are down 40 percent from last year's shipping season. At her economic development roundtable in May in St. Lawrence Country, Senator Gillibrand pledged to work with community leaders to increase shipping through Ogdensburg.

In a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Senator Gillibrand wrote in support of the St. Lawrence Seaway dredging project saying, "The estimated $3,000,000 in funds would be used to dredge the main dock channel and inner harbor area around the City of Ogdensburg's port, allowing for greater port accessibility for Seaway shipping vessels... This dredging project is essential to the Port of Ogdensburg continuing its vital marine services for New York State.  I ask that you please give this application your full consideration."

The Port of Ogdensburg is the only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence Seaway and is the northernmost port in New York State.  Owned and operated by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, the Port of Ogdensburg provides a full range of marine terminal services, serving a number of large cities in northern New York State, including Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Utica.

Currently, the port's main dock is inaccessible for Seaway vessels due to shallow waters.  This restricts loading and unloading operations, forcing material to be relocated to the inner harbor areas for storage rather than storage areas on the main dock.  If funded, dredging of the main dock and inner harbor would allow vessels to unload directly at the main dock storage areas, as well as at inner harbor storage pads for self-unloading vessels, reducing costs for the Port and making for a more time-efficient process.

In late May, Senator Gillibrand held an economic development roundtable in Massena, with local business and community leaders to discuss the latest economic development efforts for the North Country and how she can assist and promote local growth.  During these tough economic times, Senator Gillibrand is committed to creating and retaining jobs and fostering local economic growth across New York. She plans to work with local communities and state leaders to lay the foundation for future economic growth by building new transportation infrastructure, improving health care technology, investing in research and development of alternative and renewable energy, supporting investments in public education, and focusing on local economic development projects.