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Mr. LARCADE. If there are no further questions by the committee, we will now proceed to the next project carried over from April 29, which is Cape Fear River at and below Wilmington, N. C., House Document No. 87, Eighty-first Congress, first session.
CAPE FEAR RIVER AT AND BELOW WILMINGTON, N. C.
(H. Doe. No. 87, 81st Cong.) Mr. LARCADE. You may proceed, Colonel Moore.
Colonel Moore. The report on Cape Fear River at and below Wilmington, N. C., as published in House Document No. 87, Eightyfirst Congress, is in response to a resolution adopted February 7, 1946, by the Committee on Commerce of the United States Senate and to an item in the River and Harbor Act approved July 24, 1946.
Cape Fear River, N. C., is formed by the confluence of the Deep and Haw Rivers in Chatham County, N. C. It flows generally southeast to Wilmington, thence_south and enters the Atlantic Ocean 5 miles northwest of Cape Fear. Below Wilmington, the river is a tidal estuary ranging in width from 600 feet at Wilmington to a maximum of 2.25 miles. Brunswick River, a tributary, branches off from Cape Fear River about 3 miles above Wilmington, flows southeasterly 5.5 miles and rejoins the parent stream 4 miles below Wilmington.
The mean tidal ranges are 4.7 feet at the ocean bar and 3.4 feet at Wilmington.
The area commercially tributary to Cape Fear River at and below Wilmington includes the central and southeastern portions of North Carolina and a portion of northeastern South Carolina comprising in all about 37,500 square miles. About two-thirds of the area is timberland. The population of the area was 2,969,000 in 1940, of which 70 percent was classified as rural.
Wilmington, a manufacturing and commercial center, is the principal deepwater port of North Carolina. It had 47,483 inhabitants in 1946. Fourteen companies maintain storage and transfer facilities for petroleum products which are delivered by ocean-going tankers. The inhabitants of the tributary area are engaged mainly in activities pertaining to farming, lumbering, fishing and manufacturing. The principal agricultural crops are tobacco, corn, cotton, peanuts, fodder. crops, vegetables, and grain. The principal industrial products are processed agricultural products, lumber, textiles, sea foods, paper, printed matter, chemicals, ceramic products, and machinery.
The existing Federal project provides for a channel 32 feet deep and 400 feet wide from the outer end of the ocean bar to Wilmington with increased width at bends; an anchorage basin at Wilmington of the same depth, 2,000 feet long, 900 feet wide at the upper end and 1,100 feet wide at the lower end; a turning basin opposite the principal terminals at Wilmington 32 feet deep, 1,000 feet long and 800 feet wide. The project also provides for other improvements. The project was about 75 percent complete on June 30, 1948.
Commerce of the port of Wilmington during the 9-year period 1933 to 1941, inclusive, ranged from a minimum of 1,164,000 tons in 1933 to a maximum of 2,823,000 tons in 1941, and averaged 1,951,000 tons annually for the period, of which 65 percent was petroleum products. Of the average annual commerce, 1,437,000 tons, or 74 percent, were ocean-borne, including 196,000 tons of foreign and 1,241,000 tons of coastwise traffic. The total commerce of the port during 1946 was 2,103,000 tons, of which 1,812,000 tons were ocean-borne.
The ocean-borne traffic consisted of 359 inbound vessels, including 62 for tie-up in storage basin, and 303 outbound vessels, of which 65. had drafts ranging from 28 to 31 feet. The internal traffic of the port was handled by 7,069 round trips by motor vessels, barges, and tugs with drafts up to 10 feet.
Terminal and transfer facilities in Cape Fear River at and below Wilmington consist of 54 wharves, piers, and docks at the port of Wilmington, providing approximately 21,000 lineal feet of berthing space with adjacent depths of water from 18 to 30 feet; 750,000 square feet of warehouse storage space; and over 2,000,000 barrels of tank storage capacity.
Local interests desire modification of the existing project to provide for: (a) a depth of 35 feet in the Cape Fear River channel, including the anchorage and turning basins, between Wilmington and the ocean; (b) widening certain channels; (c) construction of a 4-mile cut-off in the channel below the mouth of Brunswick River; (d) construction of an additional anchorage basin between Wilmington and the ocean; and (e) better aids to navigation.
They claim that the channel is inadequate for safe and satisfactory navigation by the large dry-cargo and tanker vessels with drafts up to 33 feet which will constitute the major portion of the post war merchant fleet.
The district engineer recommends that the existing Federal project for Cape Fear River, N. C., at and below Wilmington, be modified to provide for a channel 35 feet deep and 400 feet wide from the 35-foot contour in the Atlantic Ocean through the ocean-bar channel, and thence a channel 34 feet deep and 400 feet wide along the present alinement to the upper end of the anchorage basin at Wilmington, including the anchorage basin, with some widening of the transition channel at the downstream end of the anchorage basin and with increased width at the bends, all substantially as shown in the plans accompanying his report, subject to certain conditions of local cooperation.
The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors concurs generally in the views and recommendations of the reporting officers. The ocean-borne commerce of Cape Fear River consists largely of petroleum products and the proposed improvement would provide for safe and satisfactory navigation of the channel above the upper end of the anchorage basin, and constructing a cut-off in the channel below the mouth of Brunswick River is not economically justified.
The Board accordingly recommends modification of the existing project all substantially in accordance with plans outlined under plan B in the report of the district engineer with such modifications as in the discretion of the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Engineers may be advisable.
In accordance with law, a copy of the Chief of Engineers' proposed report was furnished the Governor of North Carolina. He, in a letter dated March 24, 1948, stated that the proposed project will be a great public advantage.
In accordance with section 4 of Executive Order No. 9384, the report was submitted to the Bureau of the Budget for information as to the relationship of the proposed report to the program of the
President. The Bureau of the Budget advised that there would be no objection to the submission of the report to Congress.
The Chief of Engineers after due consideration of these reports concurs in the yiews and recommendations of the Board.
The improvement is recommended provided that responsible local agencies give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of the Army that they will provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, right-of-way and spoil-disposal areas necessary for construction and subsequent maintenance of the project, when and as required; and hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction and subsequent maintenance of the project.
The cost to the United States for construction is estimated in the report at $1,331,000. The annual carrying charges are estimated at $51.740. There will be no increase in the annual cost of maintenance. The average annual benefits are estimated at $62,700. Of this sum, $18,000 will accrue from the elimination in delays at the mouth of the river awaiting high tide, and the balance, $45,000, will be the saving from the elimination of split or partial cargoes. The benefitcost ratio is 1.21.
The cost of transportation is reflected in the delivered cost of petro-leum products. The modern type of tankers require deeper channels for economical and efficient operation. That completes
my statement, sir. Mr. LARCADE. This is one of those projects, as you have stated, Colonel, that requires deepening the channel in order to accommodate new, modern draft tankers, and this channel is used for the transportation of a substantial amount of petroleum.
Colonel MOORE. That is correct, sir.
Mr. LARCADE. And, like all other harbors, a depth of 30 or 32 feet is not sufficient to accommodate these large, modern tankers. I note also from your presentation that there will be no increase over that now authorized for maintenance purposes.
Colonel MOORE. That is correct, sir.
Mr LARCADE. Do you recall, offhand, Colonel, what the tonnage is that is transported over that particular project ?
Colonel MOORE. 2,345,177 tons in 1947. Mr. LARCADE. What is the population of the town of Wilmington ? Colonel MOORE. About 48,000. Mr. LARCADE. It is a substantial city. Colonel MOORE. Yes, sir. Mr. LARCADE. Are there any questions? Mr. ANGELL. This project, as I understand it, Colonel Moore, provides largely for the deepening of the channel, which is 32 feet for most of its length and increases to 34 in some portions of it.
Colonel MOORE. It is to be deepened to 35 feet across the bar at the mouth, the entrance from the ocean, and 34 feet inside.
Mr. ANGELL. That is the normal depth, is it not, for a boat of this type and character for the draft it uses?
Colonel MOORE. I should prefer to see 35 feet, Mr. Angell, because 34 is really not enough for the type of vessel that will use this channel.. However, the traffic and the savings are not sufficient to justify the additional foot. They wil lhave to operate at some reduction in speed even with the 34-foot depth.
Mr. ANGELL. It will not result in any increased maintenance costs but an increased depth; is that right?
Colonel MOORE. That is right.
Colonel MOORE. Yes, one of them, Mr. Ford.
Mr. FORD. Why is it unnecessary to have any additional expenditures for maintenance over and above what you are already expending?
Colonel MOORE. Because the area involved has increased only slightly and the amount of sediment is unchanged.
Mr. FORD. That is all.
Mr. LARCADE. That disposes of the two projects carried over from the 29th.
STATEMENT OF HON. F. ERTEL CARLYLE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mr. CARLYLE. Mr. Chairman, would you allow me to add one other statement? This project is in my district.
Mr. LARCADE. We will be delighted.
Mr. CARLYLE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, in addition to the splendid statement that has just been made by the colonel, I would like to add this: My predecessor, Hon. J. Bayard Clark, who for 20 years represented the district that I now represent, was not only vitally interested in this project, as well as I am, but the entire citizenry of North Carolina has shown its interest recently in further developing the Wilmington port, by reason of the fact that $5,000,000 is to be spent by the State at this port for the purpose of increasing the usefulness of this port not only to the State but, of course, to the country. Morehead City and Wilmington are the principal seaport towns in North Carolina. The Cape Fear River not only runs through the heart of North Carolina, but is a useful river, and the State of North Carolina has been trying to develop it throughout the years.
We feel that if we can get this additional depth of 3 feet across the bar-and, of course, we would like to have the depth increased from 32 to 35 feet, the entire distance—then Wilmington will begin to move forward at a rapid rate as an important seaport city. I notice that the report of the engineers recommends an increase of 2 feet, from 32 to 34 feet. The distance from the bar is 28 miles to the city of Wilmington.
I would like to call your attention to the fact that, with the exception of the State of New York, more petroleum products are handled through the port of Wilmington than any other port on the Atlantic coast. I would like to call your attention further to the fact that by reason of the shallow water in that river, many of the seagoing petroleum vessels find it necessary to unload a part of their cargo at Southport, which is down the river, perhaps only 3 or 4 miles from the bar. There are also at this time 425 of the finest seagoing cargo vessels that are now in custody of the Maritime Commission stationed in the Wilmington area.
We feel that because of the importance of the Wilmington port, by reason of the fact that the State of North Carolina is now ready and about to spend $5,000,000 in developing that port, that if we could get this added depth, it would cause that seaport town to begin to move forward at a rapid rate. We hope you gentlemen will favor this report.
Mr. LARCADE. Thank you very much, Congressman. We are very glad to have your statement, and if you desire to file any additional statement for the record at a later time, we will be very glad to have you do so. I might say also that I sympathize very much with your situation, because I also have a similar situation in one of the ports in my district, the principal product handled being petroleum also, and it is absolutely necessary to have a harbor there of at least 35 feet in depth to accommodate these large, modern tankers.
Mr. CARLYLE. I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we can both get relief. Mr. LARCADE. Thank you very much, sir.
I would like at this time to file for the record a telegram from Hon. E. L. White, mayor of the city of Wilmington, under date of April 26. (The telegram submitted by Mr. Larcade follows:)
WILMINGTON, N. C., April 26, 1949. HENRY D. LARCADE, Jr.,
Rivers and Harbors Subcommittee of the Committee on Public
Works, House of Representatives: Understand hearing will be held April 29 to consider widening and deepening Cape Fear River from Ocean Bar to Wilmington. We strongly urge this project be included in pending rivers and harbors bill. It is essential this project be consummated at earliest practicable date so as to provide safe navigation of vessels and commerce to and from the Port of Wilmington.
E. L. WHITE,
Mayor, City of Wilmington. Mr. LARCADE. I would also like to submit a telegram under date of April 26, from John H. Farrell, secretary, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. (The telegram submitted by Mr. Larcade follows:)
WILMINGTON, N. C., April 26, 1949. Hon. HENRY D. LARCADE, Jr., Rivers and Harbors Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Works,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. Relative to hearing April 23, for a deeper and wider channel Cape Fear River from Ocean Bar to Wilmington, Board of Directors this Chamber of Commerce urgently requests this project be included in pending rivers and harbors bill. The safey of ocean-going vessels to and from the port of Wilmington is quite essential with ever increasing number of vessels using our port.
John H. FARRELL,
Secretary Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. Mr. LARCADE. I would also like to submit for the record a letter under date of April 27, from Addison Hewlett, chairman, board of commissioners, New Hanover County, Wilmington, N. C. (Letter submitted by Mr. Larcade follows:)
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS,
NEW HANOVER COUNTY,
Wilmington, N. C., April 27, 1949. Hon. HENRY D. LARCADE, Jr.,
Chairman, Rivers and Harbors Subcommittee of the Committee on Public
Works, House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN LARCADE: The matter of deepening the Cape Fear River between Wilmington and the sea, which has been approved by the several Army engineers, offices handling this proposal, is scheduled to come before your committee for consideration on April 29.