Florida’s Port Everglades has been cleared to start the pre-construction engineering and design phase of its USD 374 million project to widen and deepen its channels to be able to accommodate fully-loaded Post-Panamax cargo ships.
The signed Chief of Engineers Report from the US Army Corps of Engineers also allows the project to be included in federal legislation expected in 2016 that will authorize similar water and navigation-related projects.
Port Everglades already handles Post-Panamax ships from Europe and South America, but the ships must be lightly loaded, which is inefficient, especially as older fleets are being replaced with much larger ships and the Panama Canal is being expanded. The project is designed to enable safe passage of deep draft Post-Panamax cargo ships, which are too large to fit through today’s Panama Canal.
Main features of the project are to deepen the main navigational channels from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus 1-foot required and another 1-foot allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet), and to deepen and widen the Entrance Channel and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway so that cargo ships can pass safely by docked cruise ships.
“Port Everglades is a giant economic engine for South Florida. The port must modernize and expand or the new current day cargo ships will pass us by – taking with them thousands of new jobs and over USD 30 million of economic impact each year,” said US Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22).
“Thanks to the hard work of Broward County leaders, the entire Florida Congressional delegation, and now with the stamp of approval from the Army Corps, this critical project takes a giant leap forward.”
The project will be funded through the port’s revenue generated through port user fees, federal appropriations and state grants.