News Releases

Army Corps and Port Authority Announce Completion of NY & NJ Harbor Deepening Navigation Program

Published Sept. 1, 2016

NEW YORK – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced the completion of the Port’s Main Navigation Channel Deepening Program, a major milestone in the Port’s ongoing efforts to assure its global competitiveness, continued growth, and job creation.

The $2.1 billion project, cost shared between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was initiated prior to the announced improvements to the Panama Canal, and will maintain the Port of New York and New Jersey’s position as a premiere port on the East Coast.   From 1989 to 2016, 38 miles of federal navigation channels in the New York Harbor have been deepened to a navigable depth. 

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the gateway to one of the most concentrated and affluent consumer markets in the world. It is the largest port on the East Coast, and the third-largest in the nation.  The mega project provides a safe and economically efficient pathway for the newest generation of container ships calling in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

"We, the Army Corps, are so proud of this accomplishment.  We worked closely with the Port Authority, DOT, other Administration partners, and state and local partners to get this "We Can't Wait" infrastructure project done, said, Hon. Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.   "Together we are looking to the future, to keep our Nation competitive."

"This harbor deepening may be the most important and influential project related to modern day economics in the Northeast. Modern-day container ships may now enter the port fully loaded and safely," said Col. David Caldwell, the Army Corps’ New York District Commander. "The harbor deepening was accomplished safely even while the port remained opened throughout all phases of construction, whether dredging or blasting. This $2.1 billion project was executed in a manner that allowed for over $800 million in savings and all the dredge material was used beneficially to enhance the environment. But the true worth of the project is the benefits it will provide for people: locally or nationwide and now or in the future. The work we recognize with this completion is a testament to the dedication and hard work or the New York District, Port Authority and a host of partners and stakeholders.”

“Completion of the harbor deepening project is a major milestone in our efforts to meet the needs of the region’s 23 million consumers now and in the future,” said Port Authority Port Department Director Molly Campbell.  “It culminates more than 25 years of work and $6 billion in public and private sector investment to ready the port for the new generation of vessels, and will continue to support the 336,000 jobs and billions in economic activity the port generates.”   

“Big projects like this are rarely easy—but they are worth it,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  “The harbor deepening will protect the 336,000 current port jobs in our region and allow that industry to grow.  It will ensure that area businesses have easier and more affordable access to global markets—particularly now with the completion of the Panama Canal expansion—and improve the shipping of goods to nearly 100 million American consumers living on the East Coast.  I was proud to have successfully pushed through the initial feasibility study that got this bold project off the ground when I was a Congressman representing the Port region, and I will continue to support efforts that make the Port of New York and New Jersey America’s premiere shipping terminal.” 

“As the former Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city, I have long understood the importance of the Port to the economy of our region, our State, and our local communities," said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Serving as the largest port on the East Coast and the third largest in the country, the Port of New Jersey and New York supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of personal income in the New York- New Jersey region. The completion of the Harbor Deeping Project reaffirms the Port’s status as the premier Port on the East Coast and demonstrates the readiness of the Port and maritime stakeholders to accept newer and larger cargo vessels, thereby creating greater economic opportunity in the region."

"The completion of the Harbor Deepening Project is a major achievement for the NY/NJ region, and for our nation's economic growth.  For almost twenty years we have recognized the changes happening in the shipping industry, and the necessity to deepen our port channels to handle new-Panamax ships and remain the major hub port on the eastern seaboard, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “As a senior Member of the Transportation Committee, I helped lead the fight to authorize and secure funding for the Harbor Deepening Project, and preserve the over 336,000 port related jobs throughout NY and NJ.  Thanks to the hard work of my congressional colleagues, the Port Authority, and the Army Corps, this project will maintain our competitiveness and I am proud to have contributed to its completion."

"It has been my pleasure to make the New York/New Jersey Harbor Deepening a personal priority in Congress for over twenty years on the House Appropriations Committee. These investments effect every American family and business on the East Coast. Hats off to the Army Corps, the Port Authority and its partners for a job well done for our states and nation!" Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)

“On behalf of the members of New York Shipping Association, I thank the Army Corps of Engineers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the congressional delegations of the States of New York and New Jersey for their long term commitment to seeing this project through to completion.  Our members depend on deep channels and unfettered accessibility to the port in order to safely and efficiently bring international commerce to our region and to the United States. The completion of the harbor deepening project is a vital, significant and historical accomplishment,” said John Nardi, President of New York Shipping Association.   

In addition to the economic benefits to the port commerce, sand dredged from the channels was used to restore wetland habitats at several marsh sites within Jamaica Bay, N.Y. and wetlands within an existing impacted brownfield site in Lincoln Park, New Jersey.  Approximately 900,000 cubic yards of sands and glacial tills from the Port Jersey Channel was used to restore shallow water fish habitat in an unused navigation channel south of the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne, NJ. 

The larger generation of container ships will save transportation costs for consumer products arriving from overseas, and are more environmentally friendly sporting more fuel-efficient engines while equipped with the latest technologies in air emission control systems.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey manages Port Newark, the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, the Brooklyn-Port Authority Marine Terminal, the Red Hook Container Terminal, and the Port Jersey Port Authority Marine Terminal. Combined these facilities make up the marine terminal facilities of the Port of New York and New Jersey.








USACE NY Public Affairs Office
Port Authority Media Office

Release no. 16-015