The Long Beach Harbor Commission has approved the $170 million deepening projects to improve navigation, commerce, and safety along the channel.
The work will allow the port to welcome newer, cleaner, and more efficient cargo vessels.
The Port of Long Beach and the federal government will share the costs, with the port’s share estimated at $109 million.
“By improving navigation in Long Beach Harbor, goods will speed faster around the supply chain, yielding enormous economic benefits for our city, region, and the nation,” said Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman.
“At the same time, it will make operations safer and help lessen environmental impacts on our community.”
READ: Port of Long Beach bankrolls more than $2.7 million into environmental agenda
“We already accommodate some of the largest ships in the world here,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero.
“Deepening and improving our waterways will give these vessels more room to manoeuvre, and to do so more efficiently by taking on more containers, reducing the number of ship calls and associated emissions.”
Among other features, the project includes deepening the Long Beach Approach Channel from 76 feet to 80 feet deep; easing turning bends in the Main Channel to deepen a wider area to 76 feet; deepening parts of the West Basin from 50 to 55 feet; constructing an approach channel and turning basin to Pier J South with a depth of 55 feet; improving the breakwaters at the entrance to Pier J; and depositing dredged material in nearshore sites for refuse or in federally approved ocean disposal sites.
The project seeks to maximise beneficial reuse of the material by replenishing an undersea borrow site off the coast and, where feasible, using it for future port redevelopment projects.
If repurposed for port construction, such as building leasable terminal space, the material would save the port tens of millions of dollars according to the port authority. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded economic benefits would amount at almost $21 million annually.
The Port of Long Beach witnessed its busiest July on record despite curbed consumer spending.
Container throughput reached 785,843 TEU in July, a slim 0.13 per cent increase from the previous record in the same period a year ago.