Port Otago is to seek resource consent for plans to deepen the Otago Harbour channel to accommodate larger container ships.
The Next Generation project, which could cost as much as $100 million, was first announced more than two years ago.
Port Otago will seek permission from the Otago Regional Council to deepen the harbour channel from about 13 metres to 15 metres.
However, chief executive Geoff Plunket says it will only proceed if major shipping lines confirm they want to bring the next generation of larger container ships to the port.
Mr Plunket says a resource consent application will be lodged in a couple of months, but it would be years before any work would start.