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Port of Los Angeles Celebrates 53-foot Deepening

Manson’s clamshell dredge Vulcan demonstrates the dredging process during the ceremony.  The Vincent Thomas Bridge is in the background.

Manson’s clamshell dredge Vulcan demonstrates the dredging process during the ceremony. The Vincent Thomas Bridge is in the background.

At the ceremony are, from left, the Honorable Joe Buscaino, councilman, 15th District, City of Los Angeles; the Honorable Janice Hahn, congresswoman, 44th District; the Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa, mayor, City of Los Angeles; Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., executive director, Port of Los Angeles; and Colonel R. Mark Toy, 59th commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District.

On April 3, the Port of Los Angeles celebrated the completion of its latest deepening project.  The 10-year, $370 million project brought the main channel and turning basins to 53 feet.  This is the latest milestone in a project that started in 1980 to deepen the then-35-foot channel to accommodate modern vessels.  It was deepened to 84 feet in 1984.

“Completion of the main channel deepening project has been our single-most, important infrastructure project,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “We’re grateful for the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and everyone on the Port team who helped bring this critical infrastructure priority to fruition.”

  The project involved deepening the port’s main channel, West Basin channel and East Basin channel from 45 feet to 53 feet.  In the course of the multi-year effort, contractors dredged and relocated 15 million cubic yards of dredged materials to various sites throughout the port. Some of the material was used to construct the 104-acre acre Cabrillo Shallow Water Habitat, providing a replacement habitat and feeding area for fish and marine birds in the outer harbor.

  The port’s container terminal tenants rely on properly-maintained, deep channels to move cargo. Container terminals generate about 74 percent of Port of Los Angeles revenues and help facilitate hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout Southern California. More than 43,000 direct jobs are connected to marine terminal operators at the port.

 In order to maintain and improve its world-class infrastructure, the Port of Los Angeles is in the midst of a five year, $1.3 billion capital improvement program to modernize and upgrade terminals and increase rail capacity and improve roadways in and around the port.

 One of North America’s leading seaports in in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles supports more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.

 At the ceremony, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaigosa, Congresswoman Janice Hahn and Councilman Joe Buscaino addressed the group, and all expressed their satisfaction that the deepened channels would keep the port competitive and remain a source for jobs as well as an important economic driver in the Los Angeles area. 

Col. Mark Toy, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, told the group “The number of ships and the volume of goods they will bring, the number of jobs that will result, and the economic impact on the local area and throughout the nation are important numbers.  But the true worth of the project is the benefits it will provide for people. Directly or indirectly, locally or nationwide, immediately or in the future, the work we recognize today will benefit the lives of many people.”

The wharves at most of the container terminals have been deepened to 53 feet, and the next order of business for the port will be to deepen the three remaining terminals from their existing 45 foot depths to 53 feet.

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