Press Release Article


Date: May 02, 2005
Press Release Number: 49-2005

Project to Deepen Channels to 50 Feet Begins This Month

The Port Authority announced today that 45-foot channels into the Port of New York and New Jersey are now officially open, allowing larger cargo vessels that carry more cargo and require deeper water to call on the East Coast’s largest port.

During an event at the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, dignitaries discussed the economic and job-creation benefits of the newly deepened 45-foot Kill Van Kull and Newark Bay Channels, which are now opened to maritime traffic. The deeper channels allow ships carrying more than 4,500 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) to call on the port.

The 45-foot project began in 2000 and cost $360 million. Of that amount, $270 million was financed by the federal government, with the Port Authority paying the remaining $90 million. The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey said, “Our port continues to be the economic backbone of New Jersey. In the past year, we completed the hiring of more than 1,100 new dockworkers, and our record cargo growth in 2004 demonstrates the importance of port activity in creating jobs and economic activity. These deeper channels will show the international shipping community that we are committed to investing in our port’s future.”

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “Our port’s health and vitality are critical to the economic well-being of New York and the surrounding region. Last year, our port brought in more than $110 billion in cargo to the largest consumer market in the nation. To ensure that this level of activity continues, we will continue our record level of investment in channel deepening to equip the port to accommodate the next generation of cargo vessels.”

U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg said, “Deepening these channels has been one of my top priorities in the Senate for almost 20 years. This will help our port stay a step ahead of the competition, keeping business and jobs right here in New Jersey.”

U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, “It\'s a great honor to be here today at the official opening of the 45-foot channel of the New York and New Jersey Harbor Navigation Project. This day will no doubt be remembered as a milestone in this essential public works project. The completion of the channel is vital not only for New York and New Jersey, but for the health of our national economy. I congratulate the Port Authority, the Army Corps of Engineers, and everyone who helped make this crucial effort a success.”

U.S. Congressman Robert Menendez, New Jersey’s senior member of the House Water Resources Subcommittee, said, “This deepening project is about more than just larger ships and extra cargo. It’s about keeping jobs in our region and redeveloping underutilized and contaminated land for more productive uses. I’m proud to have helped obtain the money for this project, which will secure the port\'s position as the No.1 shipping destination on the East Coast.”

U.S. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey’s senior member of the House Appropriations, Energy & Water Subcommittee, said, “The opening of the 45-foot channels is a milestone of national significance, reaffirming why the president continues to cite the Port of New York and New Jersey as a center of vital importance to our homeland security and economy. Increasing the depth of our harbor channels will open the door for larger vessels to enter the port, allow more goods to be moved in and out of our region, and create more jobs for New Jerseyans.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “As the Port Authority’s ten-year strategic plan illustrates, investments that continue to make our port a dynamic force in the global marketplace will extend far-reaching economic benefits throughout the region for decades to come. On top of the $84 million we invested in the 45-foot project, we will invest an additional $760 million to deepen the harbor channels to 50 feet, which will guarantee that our port remains the destination of choice for international shippers. These key projects would not be possible without the tremendous support we have received from our Congressional delegation, especially Representatives Frelinghuysen and Menendez.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Deepening the port’s channels is only one element of our overall plan to allow the New York region to maintain its worldwide reputation in the maritime industry. Our port facilities, including the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island, are undergoing a major redevelopment that will allow them to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Our plans include the investment of $600 million in new and expanded rail facilities, which will improve the ability of port facilities like Howland Hook to attract more business and provide an even greater economic boost to New York.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “The channel-deepening program is a critical part of our aggressive, long-term redevelopment of the port. We are investing millions to build new and upgraded rail facilities and roadways to strengthen and deepen berths, and to create more terminal capacity to allow us to deal with record cargo growth. We are confident that the investments we make today will make the port operate more efficiently and yield major economic dividends in the future.”

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District Engineer Col. Richard J. Polo Jr. said, “The completion of this project demonstrates the Corps’ expertise and commitment to creating a world-class harbor estuary in the Port of New York and New Jersey. By coordinating closely with our partners and contractors, we were able to deepen the Kill Van Kull, a complex channel made of rock and a variety of sediments. This dredging project improves navigational safety for the vessels calling at the port, while at the same time improving the overall health of the estuary through the beneficial use of dredged material. Deemed a priority by the Administration, the Kill Van Kull deepening was completed on an expedited schedule and on budget. As a result, we are now one step closer to the goal of constructing 50-foot channels here in the New York and New Jersey Harbor.”

The federal Water Resources Development Act of 1986 authorized the deepening of the Kill van Kull-Newark Bay channels to 45 feet at a time when these channels were 35 feet deep. Based on industry needs at the time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertook a deepening project in the early 1990s to deepen the two channels to 40 feet.

Last May, the Army Corps and the Port Authority signed an agreement outlining the cost-sharing agreement and schedule for a project to deepen the harbor’s channels to 50 feet. Construction on that project is scheduled to begin this month.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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