Proposal could create new international port on Niagara County shore

SOMERSET, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority, Ontario’s largest, has plans to establish a new international port in Niagara County.

The proposal, which would create a nautical route from Oshawa to Somerset, would result in a port on an 1800-acre site owned by Beowulf Electricity & Data Inc. on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Formerly, HOPA says this was New York’s last coal plant before it was retired in 2020.

A memorandum of understanding between the two entities pledges to enhance the United States’ trade partnership with Canada. With this new route across the lake, travel from one place to the other would span 37 miles, which is much shorter than the driving distance of approximately 150 miles.

“Southern Ontario is struggling to keep up with the demand on its highways; the economic cost of congestion in the greater Toronto/Hamilton area is estimated to be up to $6 billion annually,” Ian Hamilton, president & CEO of HOPA Ports, said. “Both regional economies will benefit from a cleaner, faster and more efficient maritime trade corridor.”

HOPA believes a port in Somerset would create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in Western New York.

“The fact that the port would be sited at the former Somerset coal plant is a tremendous reuse of that property and needed in a community that took a big hit in the loss of revenue and jobs when the coal plant closed,” Niagara County Legislature Chair Becky Wydysh said.

HOPA says work on a detailed market analysis “will begin immediately.”

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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