The Port of Miami on Friday announced that it has struck a deal with the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers that allows for a massive dredging project to go to bid in anticipation of the historic Panama Canal expansion.
The Deep Dredge project, as it is called, will deepen the Port’s existing channels to minus 50/52 feet as it prepares for post-panamax ships that will begin to call on Miami with the completion of the Panal Canal in 2014. The deal with the Army Corps. of Engineers was the final approval need in order to allow the construction bidding process to move forward.
Related: The Post-Panamax’s Are Coming
“The project agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the final step prior to advertising for the construction contract,” said Bill Johnson, Director, PortMiami. “The agreement solidifies our partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that will manage the project.”
Johnson said the Port is pleased with the project’s progress. “We are on schedule to complete the Deep Dredge at the same time the expanded Panama Canal opens.”
Johnson noted that PortMiami will be the only U.S. Port south of Norfolk, Virginia to be at the minus 50 foot depth in sync with the opening of the expanded Canal. The port currently has a maximum depth of 42 feet deep.
Deep Dredge is expected to create more than 30,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in Florida and allow the Port to meet its goal to double its cargo traffic over the next decade.
PortMiami is one of America’s busiest ports and contributes more than $18 billion annually to the South Florida economy and helps provide direct and indirect employment for more than 180,000.