The JAXPORT CEO, Brian Taylor, expects that, after a decade of discussion and planning, the $684 million project to deepen the St. Johns River shipping channel could begin this year.
Mr Taylor made this announcement yesterday in his State of the Port address to the Propeller Club of the United States, according to Jacksonville.com.
Deepening the harbor is essential to meet the needs of larger cargo ships transiting the Suez Canal and the expanded Panama Canal as those vessels deliver cargo to JAXPORT terminals. A 47-foot depth for the federal channel would position JAXPORT as the first U.S. East Coast port of call for fully loaded New Panamax class vessels, JAXPORT said in its announcement.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted a comprehensive, years-long economic, engineering and environmental study of the project.
A signed Chief’s Report for the project was issued in April 2014. In June 2014, the project received congressional authorization in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
The engineering and design work is complete and the project is heading into the construction phase.