Administrator at the Port of Grays Harbor on Wednesday celebrated the beginning of Phase 2 of the Deeper Draft project. Port Commissioner Jack Thompson explained, “Big big day. This is the culmination of 40 years.”
Thompson told a crowded room at the Port’s main office Wednesday afternoon, “We are very very excited. It was 40 years ago 1976 when Port Commissioners John Stevens, Hans Bielski, and Niel Logue – and our own very famous executive director Hank Soiki, developed the vision for the deeper draft. And I know that if they were here, they would be extremely proud to see where their vision took the journey for the port in 40 years.”
Thompson said that back then they had one export, “In those days, they thought there would never be a day that we didn’t have logs to ship.” While forest products remain an important piece of the Port’s cargo, they now also ship liquid and dried bulk products, automobiles, and biodiesel. With administrators always looking to expand their portfolio.
Executive director Gary Nelson presented the Army Corps of Engineers with a plaque commemorating the event.
Mike Brown, President of the ILWU Local 24 Union mentioned the port’s newest imports, Nissan, who just unloaded 3,500 autos in Aberdeen. “I’ve been a longshoreman for 38 years, seen the port grow through the years and it’s just an amazing thing the times that we’re having right now. Deeper draft is a big thing for us, it keeps the ships coming in and going out and they’re getting bigger all the time.”
The deepening of the Grays Harbor Navigation Channel to its fully authorized depth of -38 feet MLLW officially kicked off October 3rd. Combined with annual maintenance dredging, the deepening will occur during three distinct work windows through September 2018.