(TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 10, 2013) – The United States Army Corps of Engineers today announced that the Deep Dredge Project contract has been awarded to Great Lakes Dock and Dredge for the deepening of PortMiami’s channel to minus 50/52 feet. Dredging is anticipated to begin in August 2013 and be completed in time for the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez called the contract award a "major milestone for PortMiami. "The Deep Dredge project is vital to the future success and growth of our seaport," added Mayor Gimenez. "PortMiami will be the only U.S. East Coast Port south of Virginia to be at the required minus 50 feet level in time to welcome the new generation of larger container cargo vessels arriving via the expanded Panama Canal."
Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners' Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa congratulated the Army Corps of Engineers in moving forward this important project that will enable PortMiami to grow its cargo traffic. "PortMiami, already known worldwide as the "Cargo Gateway of the Americas," is well-positioned to capture new trade opportunities especially with Asian nations thanks to investments in PortMiami's infrastructure—the importance of the dredge project cannot be over-stated."
PortMiami Director Bill Johnson said, "Together with our state and federal partners, the Port is committed to upholding the highest environmental standards for the project."
The dredge project includes the restoration of more than 16 acres of sea grass in northern Biscayne Bay and the creation of over nine acres of artificial reef. In order to minimize impact on existing resources, the Port's mitigation measures include the relocation of hard coral colonies greater than 25 cm and those that are between 10 and 25 cm. Additionally, divers will be in the water adjacent to the project to monitor natural resources for turbidity and sedimentation effects before, during and after all dredging activities ensuring the highest environmental protection monitoring protocols outside of a national marine sanctuary.
Thanks to the pledge of $112 million from Governor Rick Scott and the State of Florida, the PortMiami Deep Dredge remains on schedule to open in sync with the expanded Panama Canal, helping transform Florida into a global logistics hub.
PortMiami is among America's busiest ports and recognized across the globe with the dual distinction of being the Cruise Capital of the World and the Cargo Gateway of the Americas. PortMiami contributes approximately $28 billion annually to the South Florida economy and helps provide direct and indirect employment for more than 207,000.