Report released for New York & New Jersey Harbor improvements

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District has prepared an Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (IFR/EA) that evaluates a range of nonstructural and structural measures with the potential to improve navigation efficiencies within the New York and New Jersey Harbor.

Currently, existing federal channels are constrained given the increasing size and number of vessels plying port waters, impacting harbor transport operations, and reducing vessel safety and cargo transportation efficiency. Trend data on vessel size growth and increasing cargo coming into the port are foundational factors in the need for the study.

“This is an extremely important and timely report that looks at a variety of options to enable the major port facilities in New York/New Jersey Harbor and Channels to efficiently and safely accommodate the largest container ships in the world.” said Colonel Matthew Luzzatto, Commander, USACE, New York District.

“The Harbor Deepening Channel Improvement Feasibility Study is a crucial step in securing the port’s future as we collectively work to improve global reach of the largest and busiest container per ton port on the East Coast and ensure that 46 million people within the seaport’s reach have access to critical supplies, food, and goods,” said Sam Ruda, Port Director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The measures considered include channel widening, deepening, and bend easing, improving vessel scheduling, relocating navigation aids, and increasing tugboat assistance. All of the measures evaluated are focused upon the existing federal channel system in the harbor. No new channels have been recommended.

The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) could deepen channel pathways to Elizabeth – Port Authority Marine Terminal and Port Jersey – Port Authority Marine Terminal by up to 5 feet (to a maintained depth of -55 feet MLLW), with attendant widening in the Ambrose Channel, Anchorage Channel, the Kill van Kull, Newark Bay Channel, South Elizabeth Channel, and Elizabeth Channel, and Port Jersey Channel. Channel configuration designs are seeking methods to avoid and minimize environmental and cultural resource impacts while still meeting navigation safety requirements.

The report is out for 45 day public comment through 19 December and may be found at the Corps’ website.

Photo: USACE