Author Topic: Just Three Years Later, Miami Ready to Dredge Again  (Read 180 times)


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Just Three Years Later, Miami Ready to Dredge Again
« on: November 15, 2018, 08:46:22 AM »
“The move to dredge the port again was prompted earlier this year when harbor pilots began complaining that the super ships now sailing through an expanded Panama Canal were having trouble turning. Although Corps engineers knew those ships were coming, Reichold said they were not factored into 2004 design work because the Corps was ordered to get the work done quickly when the project was finally funded in 2012 after dragging on for nearly 17 years.”

The St. Johns River Deep Dredge was also fast-tracked due to Obama's "We Can't Wait" initiative, resulting in flaws in the analysis.

Last year, St. Johns Riverkeeper hired Dr. Asaf Ashar, an expert consultant and Research Professor (emeritus) with the National Ports & Waterways Initiative at the University of New Orleans, to conduct an independent analysis of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) economic feasibility study of the proposal to deepen and widen the St. Johns. 

Dr. Ashar concluded:
USACE’s vessel data is outdated, resulting in an inaccurate calculation of vessel cost. The USACE assumptions regarding sailing speed, fuel consumption and fuel cost of vessels deployed on Asian services are based on those prevailing in 2010 or 2011 and therefore not applicable.

The USACE cargo forecasts are unrealistic, due to the failure to conduct a multi-port analysis.  USACE views JAXPORT in isolation, disregarding competition from other ports, assuming that JAXPORT’s base-year market share will remain the same for the next 50 years with or without dredging.

USACE fleet composition forecasts are flawed, as a result of disregarding the multiport nature of shipping services.  The reality is that shipping lines’ decisions on vessel size focus on primary ports of call, including Savannah, Charleston, Miami, Norfolk and New York, but not on secondary ports like Jacksonville. 

As a result, Dr. Ashar concluded that the “the BCR [Benefit Cost Ratio] of JAXPORT’s channel-improvement project is likely less than 1.”  Projects with a BCR smaller than 1.0 have total costs greater than total benefits and are considered economically infeasible.  The USACE calculated a BCR of 2.66.