Inland ports on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Baton Rouge enable shippers to move millions of tons of agricultural and other bulk commodities. However, these ports’ harbors can accumulate sediment that reduces their depth, width, and length, making it difficult for vessels to move. To address this, the Corps routinely dredges the harbors.
A majority of the stakeholders GAO interviewed, as well as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) officials, stated that funding constraints limit the Corps’ ability to fully dredge the 13 ports’ harbors, which can affect freight movement. According to local Corps officials, they received about $13.1 million of the $20.6 million needed to fully dredge the 13 ports’ harbors in fiscal year 2016. Some stakeholders told GAO that smaller ports are negatively affected by the Corps’ emphasis on the amount of cargo moved (measured in tons) when making decisions about which harbors to dredge.Read the full report