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WILMINGTON, NC (AP) – A wide-ranging study of the maritime business in North Carolina will examine how shipping goods by sea can create more jobs and encourage economic development.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will spend $1.7 million in to gauge the potential for enhancing the state’s maritime business.

Results aren’t expected until February. But groups already are lining up on both sides of the issue based on a proposed megaport in Brunswick County.

Yes Port NC has come out in favor of the fact-finding mission, while Save the Cape has criticized the state for spending money on the study.

DOT strategic initiatives coordinator Roberto Canales said the 600-acre international port proposed near Southport will be just one aspect of the study.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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