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From the Asociated Press:


The Port of Charleston served as the backdrop for a visit by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The visit was to talk about a competitive and global economy and the area's role in it.Both of them praised the port and its contributions but added the game is changing expansion and efficiency should be the focus, as other countries around the world are gaining new ground.

As the hot sun beat down on the small crowd made up mainly of local and state leaders, Vice President Joe Biden reminded them that competition in the global economy is heating up and the U.S. is arriving to the game a little late.

"If I dropped a South Carolinian in the Port of Hong Kong or a Beijing airport and blindfolded them and opened it up and I said, where are you? They would say this is America. It's not America they're way, way, way, way, way ahead of us."

As the America's hold on the maritime industry slips, the wheels are in motion to firm things up at the Port of Charleston. The 350-million dollar dredging project to allow the giant post Panamax cargo ships into the harbor 24-7, has been put on the fast-track.

The Vice President said on Monday the dredging project will move forward because it has to. It's a statement Governor Nikki Haley plans to hold him to. "The Vice President put his money where his mouth is and said absolutely in order for us to continue to see jobs coming in, in order for us to see South Carolina grow and the American economy grow we got to deepen the Port of Charleston."

One official said on Monday that 75% of the U-S economy is either in the belly or on the deck of a ship. But there is much more to it that is why U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is with the Vice President on the port tours across the country.

"We're in a foot race with the world, there are ports that are growing in other parts of the world and are becoming an attractive place for commerce. We have the good infrastructure in place as a country there is no reason why we can't race to the top and compete with any country in the world."

With plans to double trade by 2025 and then double it again in 2040, a new federal initiative is in play-- it's a pep-talk at some of the country's largest ports. It's an effort to stoke the fires of a powerful economic engine that is slow to adapt.

Vice President Joe Biden visited the Port of Charleston in South Carolina Monday to talk about the need to invest in the nation's infrastructure.

Biden visited Charleston on before flying on to Savannah to visit the Georgia ports.

Both Charleston and Savannah, who are in keen competition in the shipping business, are pursuing projects to deepen their harbor shipping channels to handle a new generation of larger containerships.

Read more about the Charleston Port here

Last week, the vice president visited the Port of Baltimore. There he discussed a $10 million grant to help that port widen a shipping channel and increase storage capacity.

Copyright The Associated Press 2013

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.