Building a more prosperous port of call

Building a more prosperous port of call

A University of New Brunswick-led study on sedimentation will help cut costs and boost business in Saint John Harbour
March 23, 2012

In 2011, about 70 ships carrying more than 205,000 passengers and 77,000 crew docked at Saint John, N.B., pumping $30 million into the local economy. But it can be tricky for increasingly large container vessels and cruise ships to manoeuvre in and out of the port, where the Saint John River and Bay of Fundy tides deposit substantial loads of sediment. Ensuring proper traffic flow comes with a hefty price tag: dredging an average of 450,000 cubic metres of sediments a year costs between $3 million and $4.5 million, accounting for nearly one-third of the port’s total annual operating budget.

 

Led by Katy Haralampides, a team from the University of New Brunswick and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique in Quebec is studying the sedimentation, currents and ecology of the harbour to better predict sedimentation volumes. The researchers are working with the Saint John Port Authority to develop more cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable ways of disposing of dredge spoil. The results of the study will also help pilots safely berth their vessels.