Houston begins post-Panamax dredging


In an attempt to match the depth of the Houston Ship Channel, dredging is underway on the first of two improvement projects to deepen Houston Port Authority’s container terminal channels from 12m to 14m, thereby allowing passage to post-Panamax ships.

The Barbours Cut Channel is being dredged first, with contractors preparing the dredged material placement areas to receive material.

Port Commission chairman Janiece Longoria said: “The Corps produced an economic analysis report, which found that the minimum net benefits of the improved Bayport and Barbours Cut channels to the US economy will be US$2.9 million per month or about US$35 million a year.”

Electric and diesel-powered dredgers will be used to complete the project and will be working around the clock to ensure work is finished.

The channels will also be widened or realigned by up to 30m to better accommodate post-Panamax ships.

The project is being funded by the port authority to ensure that the channels are ready prior to the opening of the Panama Canal in 2016.

Dredging will begin on the Bayport Channel this autumn and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of next year.

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