OSWEGO, NY – The Port City is in position to help link the world.
It would also enable many businesses, locally and globally, to save money.
The Port of Oswego Authority is being wooed to become part of a new cargo distribution system currently under development in Nova Scotia by Melford International Terminals.
Representatives of the company were in Oswego Monday to update local officials on their progress and what Oswego needs to do to become a partner.
Richie Mann, VP for marketing, said the company is already in the “construction” phase.
Large ships will carry containers to the terminal to be built in Melford, Nova Scotia, on the Strait of Canso.
From there, Mann explained, the containers will be loaded onto ships bound for the Great Lakes.
The $350 million to $400 million container terminal project will link the Port of Oswego Authority to the world.
The terminal should be in operation by 2011, Mann said.
There is a need to accommodate the growing industry, especially on the East Coast, he said.
“We need to keep these ships moving, not tied up at a dock or a number of docks,” Mann explained. “If they can reduce the rotation of ports of call, get a couple extra trips a year, then certainly it is advantageous”
They have done a lot of survey work and received their permits, he said, adding, “Actual heavy construction” will start in 2009.
While excited about the potential, Jonathan Daniels, director of the Port of Oswego Authority, said they are evaluating all the possibilities.
“After we get the first shipments through here, we’ll have a better understanding of what the impact will be for Oswego,” he said.
The Oswego port has been looking into operations in the container market prior to the Melford situation.
“There are current operations that we are looking at with our existing customers as well as some new customers that could come on line,” he said. “Melford is going to compliment what we do, provide us with some additional options.”
“We’ve identified an additional 15 acres that we own (on the Fitzgibbons property); we’re working with rail lines right now on the potential acquisition ofÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â the line that would allow us the opportunity to connect from our east terminal over to that site with a combined road and rail access,” Daniels said.
The price tag would be about $3 million, just in land construction, he said.
The only acquisition the port would need to be involved in would be acquisition of the right-of-way (about 1,900 feet) from the east terminal.
“That doesn’t include the equipment that would be necessary,” he added. “You throw everything into the mix, we’re looking at $4.5 million to $5 million total.”
It is a relatively small investment, compared to the benefits for the region, Daniels noted.
Melford’s 2011 target date is “perfect planning for us,” Daniels said.
The system would be a great cost-savings tool for many of the port’s current customers and potential customers, said Terry Hammill, a member of the port’s board.
The Oswego port’s location offers customers quick and easy access to water and rail routes as well as interstate highways, Daniels pointed out.
“This is one of the few ports where you have all modes of transportation available,” he said.
“It’s a natural fit,” Mann said. “It can be a feeder into the Great Lakes and the seaway.”
The system will save money for those who truck containers to places like New York City, Philadelphia or Baltimore to be distributed, Mann noted.
Using the system will “dramatically” cut costs and reduce shipping time for those clients, Daniels added.