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Business: Company plans barge terminal at Georgetown lighthouse

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

At a presentation about the Port of Georgetown last fall, a member of the Senior Scholars group at Georgetown Library wondered why the State Ports Authority didn’t just move the port farther down Winyah Bay and avoid costly dredging.

A private company is wondering the same thing.

Coastal Terminals of Charleston filed last week for state and federal permits to create a transfer facility near the entrance to Winyah Bay that would allow ocean-going ships to off-load bulk cargo onto barges for the journey to the dock at Georgetown.

Ship traffic is limited by shoaling in the channel through Winyah Bay and at the Sampit River entrance to Georgetown, and local leaders have tried to find a way to fund a $33.5 million dredging project to restore the channel depths. The port has seen an increase in barge traffic, however.

Coastal Terminals wants to install eight mooring buoys for ships and 16 buoys for barges along the shipping channel at North Island. The site is in front of the Georgetown lighthouse.

Ships would be unloaded with clam-shell buckets or conveyor belts, according to the application.

Coastal Terminals said the operation would have “a special focus on biomass.”

The Corps of Engineers and state Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management are taking public comment.

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