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September/October - Port Report

Charleston District and SCPA Sign PPA for Charleston Harbor Deepening Project; First Contract Awards Coming this Fall
On July 19, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District signed a project partnership agreement (PPA) with the South Carolina Ports Authority, finalizing the responsibilities for both agencies on the upcoming deepening project (Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project), officially starting the construction phase.
A PPA is a legally binding agreement between the federal government and a non-federal sponsor for the construction of a water resources project. It describes the project and the responsibilities for both sides in terms of cost sharing and execution of work. For the Post 45 project, the estimated cost-share for the construction portion of the project will be $330 million for the federal government and $199 million for the SCPA, making the total project cost approximately $529 million.
The PPA allows the Charleston District to receive funding from the SCPA and begin spending federal funds allocated by the fiscal year 2017 work plan. This includes allowing for the use of advanced funds from the SCPA for the federal share in addition to the non-federal share of the construction costs. At the moment, the Charleston District has received $17.5 million in federal funding from the FY 17 Work Plan. The PPA also allows the Charleston District to open bids and award contracts for the construction work.
“We’ve advertised the first and second contracts for the dredging of the entrance channel, which is where construction will begin,” said Holly Carpenter, project manager. “We are planning to award both contracts sometime this fall, depending on funding and acceptable bids from industry.”
The award of the first contract this fall by the Charleston District will enable dredging construction to begin in the entrance channel in December. Depending on full-funding, dredge availability, weather and a variety of other factors, the construction of the entire project will take 40 to 76 months. A timeline for the dredging of the upper and lower harbors has not yet been finalized, but will take place concurrently during a portion of this timeframe.
On July 19, the Charleston District signed the Project Partnership Agreement with the South Carolina Ports Authority, officially kicking off the Construction Phase for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project. (Photo by Sean McBride)


Port of Coos Bay Moves Forward With Deepening Project; Corps Begins EIS Process 
On August 18, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a public scoping phase in the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate the effects of the Coos Bay Channel Modification Project in Oregon and the proposed modifications to the federal navigation channel. The open comment period runs through October 3.
The Port of Coos Bay in Oregon is proposing to deepen and widen the federal navigation channel through its Coos Bay Channel Modification Project. The port is in the engineering and design phase of the project, expanding the existing channel from -37-foot depth and 300-foot width to -45-foot depth and 450-foot width from the channel entrance to river mile 8.2. 
The last deepening project modifying the Coos Bay Navigation Channel was from 1996 to 1998, increasing the authorized channel depth from -35 feet to -37 feet. 
On September 13, the Corps held a pubic scoping meeting to talk about the environmental impact statement (EIS) process at the Coos Bay Public Library.
Under the proposed schedule, dredging activities are slated to begin in late 2019 and conclude in 2022. Modification of the Coos Bay Navigation Channel is anticipated to cost approximately $350 to $400 million.


Mobile District Releases FEIS on Port of Gulfport Expansion Project
In June, the Mobile District released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Port of Gulfport Expansion Project (PGEP).
The project includes dredging approximately 7.68 million cubic yards to expand the port facilities and deepen the existing turning basin; filling 196.5 acres of estuarine mud and sand bottom habitat for the expansion of port facilities and permanent conversion of 85 acres to deeper habitat; placing dredged sediment at either Biloxi Marsh Complex Beneficial Use Site, the Pascagoula Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site, the Harrison County Development Commission’s dredged material disposal site, or another approval site. On September 1, the Canaveral Port Authority in Florida awarded CH2M Engineering a contract for the Port Canaveral’s new Cruise Terminal 3 project. In June, the port authority approved $1.2 million in funding. The new terminal will replace one of the port’s oldest cruise terminals.
CH2M will assist CPA is securing permits from various state and local agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  The port will invest $150 million for the new terminal, targeted for completion in 2019, in coordination with the port’s overall modernization and improvement plans, including the port’s channel widening and deepening, and repairs and improvements to cargo piers.

PortMiami Signs Sister Agreement with Port of Dakar
On August 9, Port Miami and the Port Authority of Dakar in Western Africa hosted an international sister seaport agreement signing ceremony. PortMiami Director and CEO Juan M. 
Kuryla and the Port Authority of Dakar Managing Director, Dr. Cheikh Kante will discuss the importance of linking the two ports and will examine ways of creating stronger ties.
The Port Authority of Dakar is the western-most point on the continent of Africa. It is also one of the major seaports in West Africa. Located at the crossroads of the maritime lines connecting Europe to South America and North America to South Africa, the Port Authority of Dakar enjoys an exceptional geographical position. The Port Authority of Dakar is a multi-purpose port offering both cargo handling and cruise passenger services.


Port of Corpus Christi and Corps Sign PPA on Channel Project
In September, the Port of Corpus Christi and the Corps of Engineers approved a project partnership agreement and the acceleration of $32 million in port funds to expedite the initial construction phases of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project.
The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project will widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to 530 feet, while adding additional barge shelves to allow for two-way vessel and barge traffic in tandem. The ship channel will be deepened to 54 feet MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water) to allow for safe passage of deep draft large vessels.
The entire project is estimated to cost $327 million with the Corps proportionate cost-share projected to be $225 million and the port proportionate cost-share projected at $102 million. The PPA allows the Port of Corpus Christi to accelerate its portion of the project cost-share, thereby allowing construction to commence ahead of federal appropriations up to $102 million. These funds are intended for use in the design and construction of the deepening of the CC Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island just east of the Port Aransas Ferry Landing.
The CC Ship Channel Improvement Project was initially authorized by Congress under the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. Congress re-authorized the CC Ship Channel Improvement Project in Water Resources and Redevelopment Act (WRRDA) 2014, and reaffirmed its commitment to the Project under the WIIN 2016 Act (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act).


Port Houston Resumes Partial Operations One Week After Harvey Landfall
Port Houston resumed inland operations on September 1, after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25. 
At the time, Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria said, “Although vessel movements remain restricted because of swift current in the channel from continued significant inflows, it is important to resume landside receipt and delivery of containers at our terminals in advance of commencement of vessel operations. Opening our terminals also reinforces the messages of Mayor Turner and Judge Emmett that it is important to resume normal operations as soon as practicable.”
Port Houston’s recovery began on Friday, September 1. On that day, Port Houston’s Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals handled five thousand gate transactions. Vessel activity and gate operations continued seamlessly through the weekend. The port said thanks to the proactive leadership of the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) – more than 120 crews worked ships from Friday night through Monday, even through Labor Day. 
From September 1 to 6, fourteen container vessels ha been serviced at Barbours Cut and Bayport terminals, and on September 6, those container terminals handled three thousand additional gate transactions.
At the end of June, Port Houston completed the maintenance dredging of the Bayport channel to a depth of 48.5 feet mean lower low water (MLLW). This work opened the Bayport Container Terminal to receive 45-foot draft vessels.


HME Construction Performs Emergency Dredging Along the Columbia River
HME Construction of Vancouver, Washington, spent the end of July and early August on emergency dredging projects in Washington along the Columbia River. 
Both the Port of Longview and the Port of Kalama were silted in enough to cause some larger deep-draft vessels to be re-routed to other nearby facilities. Port officials estimated the river depth was six feet above what it normally should be. The winter’s heavy snowmelt caused an unusual amount of sediment to flow up the river and build in the ports berths. 
The problem was discovered at Longview when a vessel was brought in for repairs and divers found the riverbed wasn’t deep enough for them to perform the needed repairs. The river must be 45 feet deep to accommodate deep-draft oceangoing vessels. With three such vessels scheduled to arrive the Port declared an emergency meaning seven state, local and federal agencies had to rush through emergency permitting in just days. 
At the end of July, HME removed 4,800 cubic yards of sand from Berths 7 and 8. The cost was $210,000. 
In early August, HME removed an additional 50,000 cubic yards of sand from the TEMCO Grain Terminal at a cost of $894,000. HME was the only contractor to bid on the TEMCO project, as this is the busy season for dredging in Washington with water levels low and outside of salmon runs. The Port of Kalama is contracted to pay up to $2.3 million for maintenance dredging until 2018. Anything above that cost is covered by TEMCO. 
Both ports are looking at ways to better identify when dredging is needed and more cost-effective ways to get the work completed without an emergency timeframe.

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