If you haven’t had a chance to read the latest N.C. Maritime Strategy produced by the Dalton/Conti/Perdue brain trust, life expectancy may preclude a complete review. About the length of the King James Bible and as prophetic as a fortune teller’s crystal ball, the financial projections would make Enron accountants blush.
Based upon the premise that huge Post-Panamax vessels with quadrupled capacity will alter international shipping from Asia and India, the report promises jobs and economic growth – the same jobs and economic growth promised in similar reports from Miami-Dade to New York harbor. For those of us east of Interstate 95, more jobs and economic growth are promises at least as old as the Global TransPark.
When these vessels will be built and how many is not mentioned in these reports. What appears self-evident is fewer vessels require fewer ports.
Besides predictions that sea-level rise will soon inundate our coastline, North Carolina’s lack of natural seaports presents logistical obstacles that can be paid for only with federal earmarks and general obligation bonds. These ships require harbor depths of 50 feet and proportionately larger widths. The environmental damage to seafood and wildlife estuaries is not mentioned in the report – only the costs to maintain the harbors.
With all due respect, if there were a top 10 list of dubious schemes proposed by the Council of State, the Governor’s Logistics Task Force and the NCDOT, this would be No. 1. When you take into consideration the delicate beauty of Eastern North Carolina’s coastline, this proposal makes the sulfur factory and windmill schemes look well conceived.