Work will see Virginia’s Trimble Shoals channel dredged to a depth of 56 feet.
The Port of Virginia has announced work started on its new dredging project on December 1, nearly two-and-a-half years ahead of schedule.
Virginia is not depth constrained at the moment, but it wants to be ready to serve the biggest ships afloat, with a channel that will allow two ULCC’s to pass by 2024.
“This project, combined with all of the investments we are making at our terminals, tells the ocean carriers ‘we are ready for your big ships,’ ” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The container ships are getting bigger and require more water depth to safely operate and we are committed to working with our customers to meet their needs today, tomorrow and decades from now.”
The port believes offering safe, two-way traffic flow for ultra-large container vessels, unrestricted by tide or channel width, will be a significant competitive advantage for Virginia. “The cargo flowing across our terminals is valuable to its owners and the Virginia economy, so we are investing in those systems that ensure the efficient, reliable and safe movement of cargo and ships to and from our port,” Reinhart said. “We are positioning ourselves to be East Coast’s premier trade gateway. Deep, wide channels will support many Virginia businesses and fuel cargo growth, job creation and economic investment across the Commonwealth. ”
The total cost of the project is US$350M. The first phase, worth US$78M has been awarded to
New Jersey-based Weeks Marine. This will deepen the western side of Thimble Shoal Channel, which leads into the Norfolk Harbour, to 56 feet.
“We are the stewards of this port and we are investing to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers, the cargo owners and to set the path for The Port of Virginia to be a long-term contributor to the Virginia economy,” Reinhart concluded.