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Port of Oswego on track for record year as harbor dredging project is completed

Payne Horning
Port of Oswego Authority Chairman Terrence Hammill, right, said the harbor is on track to create a record amount of economic impact for central New York.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished a dredging project at the Oswego harbor, resulting in the removal of 175,000 cubic yards of sediment. That will allow the Port of Oswego to accommodate bigger ships with more cargo.

At a press conference marking the project's completion Wednesday, Port of Oswego Authority Chairman Terrence Hammill said the port is on track to create an economic impact for central New York worth $50 million, a record amount.

"As a port authority, it never really had a heyday. The heyday for the Port of Oswego is now," Hammill said. "The port is booming."

Hammill  and others attribute the surge in shipping traffic over the past few years to a boost in state and federal funding. Most recently, those resources financed a $19 million renovation of the port's breakwater wall and this latest dredging project, which port director Zelko Kirincich said will lead to a positive economic ripple.

"Now I can bring in bigger ships, I can concentrate on getting more cargo in here," Kirincich said. "Before I had restrictions, all of those restrictions are lifted. I can bring in the deepest ships of the lakes." 

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the port city is already reaping those benefits.

"Back when Oswego was very much an industrial town, there were factories that lined each side of the river  and while those factories are no longer here, the business that the port is bringing to Oswego and shipping traffic is increasing exponentially," Barlow said. 

The dredging was overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.