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FACT SHEET - New York and New Jersey Harbor Deepening and Channel Improvements Study

Navigation Project, Pre-construction Engineering and Design (PED)

New York District
Published Aug. 1, 2023
Updated: March 21, 2024

DESCRIPTION: The Port of New York and New Jersey (PONYNJ) is a conduit of global commerce and a major generator of jobs and economic activity in the region. The Port is the largest port on the East Coast of North America, the second largest in the nation, and one of the most productive high-volume port operations globally.  The federal navigation channel system includes various terminals and associated facilities within PONJNY.  The Port’s catchment area that lies within 260 miles of Newark Bay and includes all or part of 17 states.  Getting goods into the hands of the consumers through an efficient and reliable transportation network is the cornerstone of the Port’s competitive edge with global markets. 

The Port has premier access to rail, road, and inland waterway routes to transport goods to 23 million local consumers and up to 100 million customers within 36 hours at markets all over the U.S. and Canada.   The Port’s six container terminals receive vessels from all of the world’s major ocean carriers serving nearly every region of the world.  Of the services that call on the Port of New York and New Jersey, 74 percent are first calls. Currently, channels to the NY/NJ harbor are inadequate to provide access to the large post-Panamax ships, which have drafts of 48 feet or more.

The HDCI Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment, completed in May 2022, examined the possibility of improving navigation within the harbor.  A Chief’s Report was signed on 03 June 2022. The study team used a design vessel classified as an Ultra Large Container Vessel with a length of 1,300 ft and a carrying capacity of 18,000 TEUs. The array of alternatives included widening, bend-easing, and/or deepening the existing navigation channels from the Atlantic Ocean to PANYNJ’s six terminals within the harbor. The NED plan moving forward is to deepen the channels by 5 feet to a maintained depth of -55 feet MLLW. The seven channels are: Ambrose Channel, Anchorage Channel, the Kill Van Kull, Newark Bay Channel, South Elizabeth Channel, and Elizabeth Channel, and Port Jersey Channel.                                 

STUDY AUTHORIZATION: Section 216 of Rivers and Harbors Act of 1970, Section 435 of WRDA 1996, and Section 101(a)(2) of WRDA 2000.

PROJECT STATUS: The pre-construction, engineering and design phase (PED) is estimated to cost a total of $20M and will take approximately three years to complete the initial sub-surface investigations, ship simulation modeling and design, culminating in a detailed set of plans and specs. This design effort will be 50/50 cost shared with our non federal partner, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The PED phase will formally begin upon execution of a Design Agreement with PANYNJ, scheduled for June 2024.

The project was authorized by Section 8401 of WRDA 2022 (Public Law 117-263) at an estimated construction cost of approximately $6.3B, cost shared with PANYNJ, at $2.9B (Federal) and $3.4B (Non Federal). The first construction contract is anticipated for award in July 2027.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: NY-05, NY-07, NY-08, NY-10, NY-11 and NJ-06, NJ-08, NJ-10, NJ-11

Seth B. Greenwald, PMP
Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278-0090