Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Years Later, Los Angeles Port Restarts Main Channel Dredging Project

After a five-year hiatus, the Port of Los Angeles last week announced that work has resumed on the final phase of a main channel dredging project to allow larger vessels to call at the port.

Set for completion in 2013--just prior to the 2014 opening of an expanded Panama Canal that is expected to offer increased competition to West Coast ports--the dredging project is also tied to the ongoing $350 million expansion of the port's China Shipping and TraPac terminals. Other terminals at the port, including Evergreen, Yang Ming, and Yusen/NYK, will also benefit from the deepened main channel.

“The Main Channel Deepening Project is a lifeline to maintaining our competitive edge during the critical years ahead as we face increased competition on a number of fronts,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz.

The $370 million dredging project began more than a decade ago but was halted in 2005 as port officials searched for and analyzed adequate disposal sites for sediment to be dredged up during the project.

Port officials ultimately identified a disposal location at two unused slips along the main channel that were formerly home to a ship repair facility.

Long Beach-based shipyard operator Gambol Industries has been trying to convince the port for over a year that the shuttered facility would be better utilized as a new ship repair facility. The governing board of the port is set to take up the issue again on Aug. 19.