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Port dredging project key to railroad success

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By Robert Allen

Positive economic impact from the AN line in Gadsden County will largely depend on the successful authorization and completion of the dredging project in Port St. Joe. A harbor of greater depth is necessary for the size of the ships that will bring increased industry and development to the region. 

Enova Energy and Green Circle have submitted letters of intent to do business with the port if it were to be dredged, according to information presented at the April 24 meeting  in Greensboro.

According to “Strategic Opportunities for Port St. Joe’s Emerging Port,” an informational pamphlet published by the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce, Port St. Joe is an ideal location for this large-scale shipping. Through a combination of natural geography and available avenues, Port St. Joe simultaneously presents a shorter connection to critical points both north and south of its position. 

For example, the same pamphlet reports Port St. Joe offers a shorter sea route to the Panama Canal than both Miami and Houston. Houston is simply farther away. And from Miami, ships must navigate around Cuba, lengthening the voyage. Similarly, by both rail line and interstate highway, 

Port St. Joe is closer to New York and Chicago than the ports in Miami and Houston. 

The port also has a 5.6-mile canal, connecting ocean shipping to U.S. inland waterways. This feature could facilitate regional distribution as well as transportation of cargo to riverside cities such as Memphis and Pittsburgh.