US coal exports could use deeper channels

The deepest US harbor is in Hampton Roads, Va., where the channel is dredged to a depth of 45 feet. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, this channel must be deepened if the US is to export large quantities of coal. Currently, says William Counce, a Corps of Engineers planner, the French are importing coal from South Africa using 150,000-deadweight-ton ships that draw 57 feet.

To be competitive, the Corps of Engineers believes US ship channels, such as those at Hampton Roads, must be deepened so similar draft ships can be used.

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