Channel deepening project begins at PortMiami



Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. began a project Wednesday that will deepen shipping channels at PortMiami so they can handle the megaships that will begin crossing an expanded Panama Canal in mid-2015.

The current canal is too small to accommodate so-called post-Panamax ships, which can carry more than three times as much cargo as the biggest vessels that now use the canal. Without the channel deepening project, fully loaded post-Panamax ships wouldn’t be able to dock in Miami either.

“Not all the equipment has arrived yet but the project has started,’’ said Paula Musto, a spokeswoman for PortMiami. Port officials are hopeful the dredging project will be completed by the summer of 2015, but the Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the project, said construction would go on for around two years.

The Army Corps said the project will be done in two phases and includes deepening federal navigation channels from 44 to 52 feet, widening some portions of the channels, relocating coral and creating an artificial reef.

The excavation will result in the removal of approximately 2.1 million cubic yards of material — some of which will be used to construct a sea-grass mitigation site.

The contract with Great Lakes Dredging is for $205.8 million but management and other costs, which will be shared by the state and Miami-Dade County, will push the price for the entire project to around $220 million.

To prepare for the era of big ships, PortMiami recently took delivery of post-Panamax cranes that are large enough to unload the wider ships and invested in strengthening its wharves in preparation for the dredging project.

Read more International Business stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category