NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are spending billions of dollars to dredge the busy Anchorage shipping channel between Brooklyn and Staten Island to attract larger cargo ships in the near future.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

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Ports on the East Coast, including New York, are scrambling to prepare for larger ships that will be in use once the Panama Canal is expanded in 2014.

Once completed, the new Panama Canal will be able to accommodate super-sized container ships that require 50 feet of water and can carry 12,000 containers fully loaded.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that expansion will have a huge impact on New York.

“I think this shows we aren’t immune or separate from the rest of the world,” he said. “Thousands of miles from here, they’re digging a new Panama Canal and we have no choice but to change the infrastructure here and invest billions of dollars. If not, the ships just aren’t going to come here.”

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Part of the project will also include a raising of the Bayonne Bridge by 64 feet. It’s expected to cost about $1 billion and be completed by 2016.

The Port Authority could hear later this month if it has been approved to have environmental permits fast-tracked.

The Anchorage shipping channel is the main channel in upper New York Bay above the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

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