In June, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its 2018 work plan, including funding for many port projects.
The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project received $49 million. Construction to deepen the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel began in February following the awarding of the first two dredging contracts, totaling $260 million, by the Corps.
“The deepening of the Charleston Harbor is one of the most important strategic priorities for the State of South Carolina,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “The Southeast needs a 52-foot harbor to efficiently handle the large container ships now calling the East Coast. There are four other harbors on our coast at 50 feet of depth, and such large container ships call a network of ports. The deepening of major U.S. ports is a significant element of the overall investment thesis across the port industry nationwide, and by 2021 SCPA and the State will have invested over $2 billion in port infrastructure to support the growth of both population and manufacturing in South Carolina and the Southeast region.”
The Corps Work Plan funding, in combination with a $50 million loan from the state, will enable the Charleston Harbor to be deepened to the Wando Welch Terminal by early 2021 in a record construction period of only 40 months.
The FY18 Corps Work Plan funding also included $556,250 for the start of a feasibility study for the Miami Harbor Safety and Navigational Channel Improvements Program at PortMiami. Once completed, these channel improvements will allow continued economic growth for Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida. Additional revenues are projected to be approximately $30-$50 million annually. Safety and navigational enhancements will also enable the Port to accommodate 14,000 TEU cargo vessels calling on the East Coast.
The Corpus Christi Channel Improvement Project (CIP) received $23 million to deepen and widen the waterway. Earlier this year, the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works allocated $13 million in funding for the Port of Corpus Christi’s CIP. The additional $23 million in work plan monies fully funds the second of six contracts and extends the project construction from the entrance in the Gulf of Mexico to Redfish Bay. Anticipated completion of the entire project is projected for 2021 to 2022.
Port Canaveral will receive $14,760,000 for the Canaveral Sand Bypass project and $1,470,000 for the maintenance of the port maintenance and the Canaveral locks. The Canaveral Harbor Sand Bypass and jetty improvement project was designed to prevent infill of the federal port channel through the jetties (jetty tightening component) and migration of sand around the tip of the north jetty (bypass component).
A 2002 U.S. Court of Federal Claims agreement mandates that the Corps schedule the bypass project approximately every six years. The bypass project has not been funded by the Corps since 2009. Subsequent shoaling caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017 now requires expedited additional work for the Sand Bypass at an estimated additional cost of $4 million. The Corps is completing a separate construction work plan to address this additional channel shoaling using funds awarded by Congress to the Corps in the Disaster Supplemental budget which passed in December 2017.
The Brevard County Mid Reach beach re-nourishment project was also included in the Corps’ FY 18 work plan. The project will receive $28.375M to be cost shared with the County.
A deepening project at the Port of Tacoma will receive funding to initiate a feasibility study. Similar to the Seattle Harbor project, the Tacoma Harbor Navigation Improvement General Investigation Study includes two waterways, the Blair and Sitcum. The study will analyze alternatives associated for canal deepening. The Port of Tacoma is the non-Federal sponsor.