Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Long Beach Port Reaches Major Dredging Project Milestone

The Port of Long Beach announced Monday that a major component of a capital dredging project at the port is now complete, with main channel depths now reduced to 76 feet from two miles outside the harbor entrance to the port's Middle Harbor and East Basin serving the crude oil terminal on Pier T.

The completion of the project means that VLCCs – Very Large Crude Carriers – can now steam directly to berth at the T121 facility rather than first lightering offshore.

Prior to the dredging project, the turning basin did not have the depth to allow access by fully laden VLCCs. The East Basin can now safely accommodate vessels with up to 69 feet of draft. According to the port, the deeper, wider channel and basin will also provide additional, safer access for the world’s largest container ships to call in Long Beach.

"This is a critical project for the Port of Long Beach. It greatly enhances the Port’s capabilities and navigational safety," port Managing Director of Engineering Doug Thiessen said. "We’ve been very fortunate to develop a strong and successful working partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers that has resulted in some major improvements to this harbor."

Col. Mark Toy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Commander commended the port on its environmental and commercial vision in regards to the dredging project.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is thankful to the Port of Long Beach and the City of Long Beach for entrusting us with the construction management for crucial port and city projects. Today we celebrate a project and a partnership that continues ‘Building Strong’ and taking care of people," Toy said.

The main channel project is part of a larger 17-month $40 million dredging project to be completed before the end of 2011. The port is providing about $35 million of the funding with $2.6 million from the Army Corps and $2.4 million in federal economic stimulus funds.

The Army Corps has been providing project construction management with the actual dredging performed by Manson Construction Co.

In addition to the main channel deepening, the overall project has included dredging to improve navigation at the Catalina Express ferry landing in downtown Long Beach and the removal and environmentally safe containment of 660,000 cubic yards of decades-old contaminated sediment in the harbor, left over from the former Navy station in Long Beach.