Phase one of critically needed maintenance dredging of the Redwood City Harbor and Channel was completed this week, bringing the Port’s channel to a depth of 28 feet.
The $12.8 million project, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will enable ships to operate more efficiently when navigating the Port’s channel.
The last time the channel was dredged to its authorized depth was December 2009. Since then areas of the channel have silted in. The Port has been working with the USACE to perform this dredging in order to increase allowable draft for ships. The channel depth limitation for navigation of minus 22 feet was causing extra costs and logistics problems for the cargo shippers at the Port.
“Increasing the depth of the channel by six feet will mean that the cargo carrying capacity of the ships calling at the Port will increase by 10,000 to 12,000 tons per ship,” said Executive Director Michael Giari.
Thanks to the support of the Port’s Congressional delegation, including Congresswoman Jackie Speier and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the City of Redwood City, and Port businesses, the funding for this project was secured earlier this year.
Port Chairman Ralph Garcia said, “Since federal funding was secured, our partner on this project, the San Francisco District of the Army Corps of Engineers, has worked diligently get this maintenance dredging scheduled as soon as possible in order to lift the restrictions on ships using the channel.”
The Port’s tonnage has been steadily increasing since 2009 and last year reached 1.8 million metric tons. The majority of the cargo is construction materials to supply the many major construction projects, underway and planned for the Redwood City area and Silicon Valley.
Phase two of the dredging project to restore the channel to it authorized depth of 30 feet will occur in mid-2015.