Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and 55th Chief of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon recently signed the New York & New Jersey Harbor Deepening and Channel Improvements (NY&NJHDCI) Chief’s Report.
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest container port on the East and Gulf Coasts and the second busiest container gateway in the United States. The Chief’s Report recommends bend widenings and channel deepening in the existing -50 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) datum channels; and in Ambrose Channel, currently -58 feet MLLW.
“The Port of New York and New Jersey is the gateway to economic activity on the East Coast,” said Col. Matthew Luzzatto, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. “The signing of the Chief’s Report is an important step in alleviating the supply chain issues we have been facing and puts us one step closer to accommodating larger Post-Panamax Ships in our ports.”
“We are pleased to move forward with this harbor dredging project in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who have been incredible partners in the Port Authority’s mission to improve efficiency and fluidity at the Port of New York and New Jersey,” said Port Director Bethann Rooney. “We look forward to working with port stakeholders so that one day we will be able to welcome the industry’s largest container vessels, which is particularly critical as the seaport continues to handle record cargo volume and growth.”
According to the Corps, the fleet of container vessels regularly calling on the Port of New York and New Jersey today includes longer and deeper vessels that experience maneuverability inefficiencies at the existing channel bends’ widths; and are depth constrained at the existing channel depths. This causes light loading of vessels and economic inefficiencies.
Therefore New York District, in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has investigated and found that it is environmentally acceptable and economically feasible to improve the existing channels.
The Chief’s Report’s recommended plan would widen all channel bends and deepen the channels from the ocean to Port Newark and Elizabeth and Port Jersey to -55 feet MLLW for current vessels calling on the Port of New York and New Jersey and for more under keel clearance for those vessels.