Group Cites Project’s Job Creation and Economic Development Power The PENJERDEL Council, a leading business advocacy group for the tri-state region of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, recently came out strongly in support of the Delaware River Channel Deepening Project, citing the project’s impact on job creation and overall economic development for the region. The Council’s “Resolution in Support of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project” was unanimously adopted by the PENJERDEL Council Board of Directors at its March 12, 2009 meeting. PENJERDEL made the initial regional announcement on the resolution, and PRPA is now following up with its own announcement to the port industry and other constituents in the business community.
“PENJERDEL Council members believe if the tri-state region is to remain competitive with other east coast ports it is imperative that our facilities and waterways accommodate and attract today’s modern large cargo vessels,” PENJERDEL Council Executive Director Andrew L. Warren wrote in a latter sent to area members of Congress and other elected officials. “On behalf of the hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women who are employed in tri-state port related industries, the PENJERDEL Council encourages your support of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project.”
For the past 50 years, PENJERDEL has been an advocate of economic development projects that will attract and retain businesses in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and northern Delaware. They have been at the forefront of support for a number of important projects in the tri-state region that have had significant impacts on infrastructure, transportation, recreation and conservation.
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority is the local sponsor of the deepening project. Last June, PRPA and the United States Army Corps of Engineers signed the Project Partnership Agreement to deepen the Delaware River’s main shipping channel to 45 feet. The project, which is estimated to cost about $277 million, will take five to seven years to complete.
By deepening the shipping channel to 45 feet, the Port of Philadelphia will be better positioned to accommodate the next generation of vessels that require deeper drafts. According to a study last year by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, the Port of Philadelphia’s competitive position is threatened without a deeper channel. The project will enable the port to attract new cargoes, especially from Asian shippers looking to expand into North American markets. The channel-deepening project is expected to create thousands of permanent family-sustaining jobs, where the annual average salary including benefits is $80,000.
“The PENJERDEL Council represents major business interests through the tri-state region, so this endorsement means so much to the PRPA and our allies,” said PRPA Chairman John H. Estey. “While the project has been repeatedly vetted and found to be economically sound and environmentally responsible, there’s nothing like independently-minded business people coming forward and saying that channel deepening needs to get done. We’re honored and pleased to have our friends at the PENJERDEL Council support us on this issue.”