SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Vice President Joe Biden is planning September visits to the ports of Savannah and Charleston, S.C., which are seeking federal funds to deepen their harbors.

The White House announced Thursday that Biden plans to stop at both seaports Sept. 16 in advance of a trip to the Panama Canal, where a major expansion scheduled to wrap up in 2015 is expected to send larger cargo ships to the East Coast.

Like other East Coast ports, Savannah and Charleston are scrambling for funding to deepen their harbors in order to accommodate the supersized ships.

President Barack Obama included both cities last year on a list of port projects deemed worthy of expediting. But Washington has had trouble finding money for such projects amid budget battles focused on cutbacks and deficit reduction.