Officials will discuss the deepening of Charleston Harbor during today’s S.C. International Trade Conference on Isle of Palms.

The 4 p.m. discussion is part of today’s start of the three-day conference that brings together hundreds of members of the business and maritime community.

The topic of harbor dredging will include presentations by Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. State Ports Authority, and Lt. Col. John T. Litz, the new commander of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Charleston District.

The presentations comes just days after the Army Corps marked the completion of all field work for its $13 million feasibility study for the deepening of Charleston Harbor.

The federal agency has to finish its review in four years, half the time than initially planned. The draft of the feasibility study is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2014, and a final version is expected to be submitted in September 2015.

The study will be followed by a preconstruction engineering and design phase, which is the last step before dredges start pulling muck from the bottom of the harbor.

The State Ports Authority wants to deepen the shipping lane an additional 5 feet from its current 45 feet.

The deepening is scheduled to be completed by 2020, with the total cost of as much as $350 million to be shared by the state and federal governments.

Charleston and several ports along the East Coast and looking to deepen shipping lanes for larger vessels to flow through an expanded Panama Canal starting in 2015.

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