Dredging at Morehead City Hasn’t Brought Relief to Shippers, Yet

Article Image

Posted June 4, 2015

The state ports’ biggest shipping customer has been losing $2 million a month since October because the sand-clogged navigation channel at Morehead City is still too shallow to handle fully laden freighters.

But a dredging operation that began in May is expected to bring some relief by August, helping the state’s second-busiest port get back to normal.

“At that point, we should be able to get our ships in and out, free and clear,” Ray McKeithan, spokesman for PotashCorp Aurora, said Wednesday after a meeting with local pilots, state officials and an Army Corps of Engineers general.

PotashCorp, also known as PCS Phosphate, imports raw sulfur and exports fertilizer through Morehead City, where 18 ships carried more that 1.1 million metric tons of its cargo last year. The Beaufort County mining company and other shippers have been light-loading their vessels to comply with restrictions enforced by the local pilots who guide ships into port.