The Port Authority announced today that it has received approval from the Army Corps
of Engineers to deepen a section of the Kill van Kull to 50 feet, launching the agency’s ambitious $1.8 billion project to dredge the region’s harbor channels to 50 feet and maintain its ranking as the leading East Coast destination for shippers from around the world.
Under eight separate dredging contracts, the Corps and the Port Authority are working together to deepen the Kill Van Kull from 40 to 45 feet. In the near term, the Corps’ new action will allow the Port Authority to augment one of those contracts to deepen a section of the Kill van Kull around Bergen Point to 50 feet. The work, being done between Bayonne and Staten Island, will save time and money by allowing the deepening work to be completed during the scope of a single project, rather than in two separate projects.
In the long-term, the decision by the Corps makes similar project consolidations possible to achieve 50-foot depths faster throughout the Port.
The 45-foot Kill Van Kull deepening project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2004. The Port Authority is working with the Army Corps and other federal and state regulatory agencies toward the goal of completing the 50-foot project by 2009.
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “This is a major milestone that will allow the Port to remain the Northeast’s main ocean shipping hub, one that already generates more than $25 billion in economic activity and supports more than 225,000 jobs. Thanks to this channel deepening work, shippers from around the world will have no reason to seek out other ports for their shipments of everything from cars to cocoa and furniture to beverages.”
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, “The dredging will ensure the competitiveness of the Port Authority as the premier Mid-Atlantic access point for the eastern regional seaboard. The 50-foot channel will enable the largest state-of-the-art vessels to readily navigate the Kill van Kull. The Port represents a national stimulus of economic activity; continued dredging will guarantee the Port’s premier status.”
Port Authority Chairman Jack G. Sinagra said, “This channel deepening work is part of our comprehensive $1.5 billion five-year plan to upgrade our port infrastructure to continue the economic prosperity the maritime industry brings to this region. We are committed to maintaining our port as the catalyst for future economic activity.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “This region supports one of the largest consumer markets in the world, with more than 80 million people served by products that come in to our Port. This deepening program will ensure that our Port continues to grow and prosper for decades to come.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “Deeper shipping channels are only one component of our comprehensive plan to make our Port one of the most attractive in the world. We have plans to build or expand ship-to-rail facilities at our terminals in New York and New Jersey, to improve the road networks surrounding our seaports, and to add and upgrade berths and wharfs.”
Col. John B. O’Dowd, the Army Corps New York District
Engineer, said, “This permit is being issued in consideration of the environmental benefits of the project. This combined work will be beneficial for the aquatic resources of the harbor estuary, as well as lessen the construction noise and air impacts upon the citizens of Bayonne, Staten
Island and the region.”
Richard M. Larrabee, the Port Authority’s Director of Port Commerce, said that deepening the Kill van Kull channel at Bergen Point directly to 50 feet will extend the current contract for that section by only four months, but will save approximately $27 million off the original project cost of $134 million.
“The savings are the result of only having to mobilize equipment, drill, blast, and remove material once rather than twice,” Mr. Larrabee said. “It’s a logical approach to advancing these critical construction projects.”
The Kill van Kull is the channel between Staten Island, N.Y., and Bayonne, N.J. It provides access to Port Newark, the Elizabeth Port Authority Marine
Terminal, and, via the Arthur Kill, the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island.