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More than $5 million in federal funding will aid Ogdensburg Port expansion

From North Country Now, November 2, 2023.

"More than $5 million in federal funding will fund both phases of a major expansion project at the Port of Ogdensburg.

'We are very appreciative of the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration for seeing the value of this project, and for (U.S. Senator Charles) Schumer’s unwavering support of transportation infrastructure in New York State. Securing this grant will allow us to vastly improve the safety and efficiency at the Port of Ogdensburg and allow us to play a greater role in supply chain resiliency for our region,' said Steven Lawrence, Executive Director, Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.

'The Port of Ogdensburg is moving full speed ahead with expanding their vital operations as the economic engine of the North Country, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs law. This over $5 million federal boost will help complete the much needed expansion of the Port’s main dock terminal – increasing export capacity and enhancing its ability to serve the Upstate NY businesses,' said U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who pushed to secure the funds said. 'The Port of Ogdensburg Harbor is seeing more hustle and bustle than ever before, and now with the expansion, more business can boost our harbor and uplift communities across the North Country. I’m proud to deliver the federal dollars to complete the final phase of this long awaited project, so the Port of Ogdensburg can continue to play a vital role in the region’s economy for generations to come.'

'The Port of Ogdensburg is a vital part of the North Country’s economy, serving as a gateway to global markets,' Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. 'This vital funding will boost economic activity at the port and open new doors for local businesses. I am proud to have worked to secure the funding for this project and will continue to fight to bring federal dollars home to New York.'

Schumer said the investment will fund both phases within the Port of Ogdensburg expansion project.

Phase one of the project will deepen the Ogdensburg Harbor to ease congestion, reduce shipping costs, and unlock new business opportunities. At the time, sediment backlog and shallow waters at the harbor made the port’s main dock inaccessible for larger vessels and added tens of thousands of dollars to shipping costs. With this new federal funding, the port will add 500 feet to the west side dock wall to create a second vessel berth at seaway depth and expand storage facilities for increased cargo. Additionally, the improvements will boost the overall resilience of the Port by equipping it to transport larger quantities of cargo in significantly less steps, reducing the likelihood of errors and supply chain disruptions. Taken together, the deepening, dock upgrades and storage expansion are expected to enable two or more ships to come to port and unload their cargo. Currently, the port can handle only one ship at a time.

Schumer has also fought hard to support a range of other OBPA projects. In 2015, Schumer visited the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to approve a long awaited runway expansion. In 2022, Schumer secured $3,000,000 for construction and repairs to the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge. Over the last two years, Schumer has secured awards of $2,100,000 and $1,000,000 for the OBPA’s new 15,000 square foot childcare center.

With approximately $150 million dollars’ worth of goods traveling annually through the Port of Ogdensburg, Schumer emphasized that it is only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence River. The Port is strategically located to serve markets in southern Ontario and northern New York State, and it is proximate to Ontario Highway 401—a major Canadian Highway with access to 60% of Canada’s population—and connected by State Route 37 to Interstate 81, a major highway that crosses much of the Eastern United States. Schumer said that the need to accommodate vessels with Seaway maximum drafts is expected to rise over the next 50 years, and with the Port’s prime location and facilities, the terminal expansion will increase the Port’s attractiveness to shippers."

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