PHILADELPHIA, PA – Dennis Rochford, President of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, today applauded the news of President Obama including the Delaware River 45' Main Channel Deepening Project in his FY13 budget to be submitted to Congress today.
"Clearly, the Administration recognizes the importance of this project to both regional and national economies as related to import and export trade," said Rochford.
"This project has been a true regional and bipartisan effort, supported by our delegation, to include Senators Robert Casey (D-PA), Patrick Toomey (R-PA), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Christopher Coons (D-DE), as well as Representatives Robert Brady (D-PA), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and John Carney (D-DE), as well as Governors Tom Corbett (R) of Pennsylvania and Jack Markell of Delaware (D). A broad and diverse segment of business leaders and labor are equally deserving of thanks for their support of this effort," stated Rochford.
Today's announcement comes on the heels of last week's news that $16.9 million was included in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY12 budget for deepening Delaware River's main shipping channel from it's present depth of 40 feet to 45 feet representing the most significant federal contribution to actual dredging work since the 102-mile channel deepening began.
A deeper channel allows Delaware River ports to remain competitive with other East Coast ports when vying for expected commerce that the Panama Canal expansion, expected to be completed in 2014, will bring.
"This funding sends a message to the global transportation community that Delaware River ports are not only competitive, but ready, willing and able to do business in a post-Panamax ship world," said Rochford.
This funding is also key to the development and success of several major Delaware River initiatives currently on the drawing board or being discussed: the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority's Southportcomplex; the new port at Paulsboro, New Jersey; and the proposed Port of Wilmington, Delaware expansion.
At present, the Delaware River port complex contributes $6 billion to the regional economy, 75,000 jobs, $1.5 billion in wages and salaries, and $150 million in state and local taxes.
The Maritime Exchange is a non-profit trade association representing almost 300 port and related businesses throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Since its establishment in 1872, the Maritime Exchange has served as the primary port advocate on behalf of these businesses, working closely with federal, state and local governmental agencies as well as the tri-state federal congressional delegation to promote commerce along the Delaware River and Bay.