US$220 million project in preparation for expanded Panama Canal gets underway
The dredging of the Port of Miami’s approach channels began last week as it and other ports up and down the east coast of the US continue to prepare for the influx of larger vessels upon the completion of the expanded Panama Canal come 2015.
The $220 million project, being managed by the US Army Corps. of Engineers and undertaken by the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., will see the harbour deepened to 50 feet and widened to allow the safe navigation of so-called post-Panamax vessels that are capable of carrying two or three times as much as standard ocean carriers.
Dredging works will be completed in two phases and will see approximately 2.1 million cubic yards removed from the seabed.
In a statement announcing the start of the ambitious project, PortMiami’s director Bill Johnson said that the 18-month project “will pay dividends in years to come” and make Florida “an even more powerful player in the global marketplace”.
The Port of Miami is also undergoing a major overhaul of its cargo handling equipment and infrastructure with as much as $2 billion being provided for the purchase of cranes, the construction of a new billion dollar tunnel connecting the port to the region’s major roads and the strengthening of wharves to ensure that it is ‘big ship’ ready.