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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Home Port News Port of Virginia to become US East Coast’s deepest port

Port of Virginia to become US East Coast’s deepest port

The Port of Virginia has announced it will create the deepest and widest shipping channels on the US East Coast by late 2024, while the federal work plan has recently been approved.

The work includes dredging the port's shipping channels to 16.7 metres, with deeper ocean approaches, and widening them up to 426 metres in specific areas. When dredging is complete in 2024, the commercial channels serving the Norfolk Harbor will be able to simultaneously accommodate two ultra-large container vessels.

"The Norfolk Harbor deepening and widening project will enable safe, two-way traffic in and out of Norfolk Harbor that will support increased commercial activity at the Port of Virginia," said Mark R. Warner, member of the United States Senate.

Released by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the work plan allocates funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, containing US$72 million for the dredging project.

The total estimated cost of the project is US$450 million, with the federal government and the port agreeing to a 50-50 cost share of the project at its outset in 2015, when the USACE began evaluating the economic value of a deeper and wider Norfolk Harbor and commercial shipping channel.

Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority commented, "The container ships must have deep water to safely operate and two-way movement of big ships, unrestricted by tide or channel width, is a significant long-term competitive advantage that adds capacity for Virginia."

Edwards added that the success of the project has been driven by the long-term support it has received from Virginia’s Congressional delegation, the Virginia Legislature, the Norfolk District of US Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Maritime Association.

The dredging work began in December 2019, nearly two-and-a-half years ahead of schedule, according to the US port.

"Modern container terminals served by deep, wide channels and the ability for cargo to reach important markets by rail truck and barge positions the Port of Virginia to be the East Coast’s premier trade gateway," commented Edwards and concluded, "This will fuel cargo growth, job creation and economic investment across the Commonwealth for decades to come."

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