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Agreement reached to deepen Port of Oswego harbor

Posted on September 14, 2022

Tuesday was an historic day at the Port of Oswego as 25 years of discussions concluded in an agreement to fund and conduct a study to deepen the Oswego Harbor.

Port officials feel the project would transform the site and accelerate its growth.

Once complete, Seawaymax Class freighters, the largest to travel the Great Lakes, U.S. Navy ships and Great Lakes cruise ships could use the Port of Oswego.

The Port of Oswego a busy place, as it is New York’s only port on Lake Ontario. It now hopes to become even busier with the signing of Tuesday’s historic agreement.

The Port of Oswego Authority and the U.S. Corps of Engineers will now move forward after a 25-year discussion to deepen the port’s harbor.

Lt. Col. Colby Krug is the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Buffalo district commander.

What You Need To Know

  • The Port of Oswego is New York’s only Port on Lake Ontario
  • The harbor deepening project agreement could mean bigger ships and more commercial and recreational vessels for New York in five to six years
  • Local impact is 209 jobs; $27.7 million in economic activity
  • Port of Oswego is the largest grain exporter on Lake Ontario with USDA-approved lab

“It’s adding an additional foot and a half of depth to the harbor,” he explained. “And again, that’s what these salties and lakers that you see traverse the Great Lakes, that’s what they’re looking for, below their keel to have a full load on their ship.”

The joint feasibility study should take approximately a year. It’s the first phase of a three-step process. The following phases are design and construction. They hope dredging of the harbor can begin sometime in 2025.

“We have that timeline. I think about 2025, they will see the first dredges and the deepening happening the deep,” Port of Oswego Executive Director and CEO William Scriber said.

The deepening, he says, will allow for 740-foot Seaway max class freighters. Big ships mean a boon to the New York economy, he said.

“As I’ve often said, ports equal jobs. And a port is just not the jobs on the ports. It’s the jobs we support and the added industry that we bring in an area,” Scriber said. “Water is cheaper than both rail and truck. And economies of scale are on ships.”

Francis Enwright, Port of Oswego Authority Board chair said, “You get larger ships in here and also we could load the ships deeper, which means we can put more of our product, whether it be grain, corn onto the ships or offload. They can bring in more, which is profitable for everybody.”


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