Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Long Beach Port Kicks Off Dredging Project

Officials from the Port of Long Beach and the United States Army Corps of Engineers officially kicked off a $40 million dredging project at the port on Tuesday.

During the 17-month project, which actually began earlier this year with dredging work at a nearby passenger ferry terminal, the Army Corps will oversee the deepening of the port's main shipping channel as well as the removal and containment of contaminated sediments from the harbor.

The project, being performed by contractor Manson Construction Co., is being paid for by the port and the Army Corps.

When completed in 2001, the project will allow the main channel to accommodate the largest oil tankers fully laden. While the port already features one of the world's deepest main channels – capable of handling the world's largest container vessels – inconsistencies in previous dredging projects left certain areas of the main channel impassable by ultra-large oil tankers when fully loaded. These tankers have had to either arrive in Long Beach with a partial load or unload some of their cargo outside the harbor entrance before entering the port.

The dredging project will also provide enough room for the oil tankers to turn around while in the harbor, also something currently not possible. In addition, the project calls for some of the dredged material to be recycled and used as landfill for an on-going terminal development project at the port's Pier G.

“The Main Channel Deepening and related projects are a significant step forward for the Port of Long Beach and the harbor as a whole,” said port Executive Director Richard Steinke. “This is a vital project that is creating jobs and will help keep the Port competitive as the economy rebounds.”