Dredging Promise

Restoring Hope to the Port of Philadelphia

Story by Ryan Briggs

Photography by Carina Giamerese

Published on Nov 5, 2012

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The Port of Philadelphia is expanding, not only outward but downward; plans are in the works to deepen this segment of the Delaware River from 40 to 45 feet. The idea is to entice Asian shippers expected to soon take advantage a newly widened Panama Canal, and thus drum up some business in a port that has been lagging for the better part of a decade. But with a location eight hours upriver from the Atlantic and a riverbed that will remain comparatively shallow even after the dredging, can Philly really restore itself as a sought-after beacon among cargo vessels? Next American City fellow Ryan Briggs dives into the politics of urban waterfronts in Philly and beyond, asking what even major American cities will have to do in the 21st century to lure exporters to their docks.

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