AAPA Seaports Advisory

Dredging: Boston

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Boston Harbor Deepening Begins

Boston Harbor Dredging Project construction officially began September 15 with a kick-off ceremony attended by Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, Congressman Stephen Lynch, local elected officials and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport).

The state and federally funded multi-phase project will support continued growth at Conley Container Terminal, where throughput is barreling toward its third consecutive record year.  

Project plans include maintaining the inner harbor, and deepening the outer harbor, main shipping channel and reserved channel to allow access to Conley Container Terminal by large container vessels. Dredging the inner harbor preserves access for vessels delivering home heating oil, automobiles, jet fuel, and salt to terminals along the Chelsea and Mystic Rivers.

The first phase of the project consists of maintenance dredging, including the construction of a confined aquatic disposal (CAD) cell just off shore from the Autoport in Charlestown to hold sediment dredged from the harbor. This work is expected to continue through the end of the year.

Phase two, scheduled to begin in mid-2018, will deepen the Outer Harbor Channel, from 40 to 51 feet (12.2 to 15.6 meters); the Main Shipping Channel, from 40 to 47 feet (12.2 to 14.3 meters); and the Reserve Channel, where Conley Container Terminal is located, from 40 to 47 feet (12.2 to 14.3 meters). Deepening will allow access to Conley by container ships of up to 12,000 TEUs capacity, up from the current maximum of 8,500 TEUs.
The project overall will cost approximately $350 million, with $130 million to come from Massport and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and $220 million from the federal government. The federal funding, includes $18.2 million allocated in the Corps’ FY 2017 workplan and $58 million included in the President’s FY 2018 budget.

"Deepening Boston Harbor and supporting infrastructure investments at Conley Container Terminal are crucial to Massachusetts and New England’s competitiveness in the global marketplace," said Governor Baker. "We are proud to work with our state and federal partners toward these improvements, supporting billions in economic activity and over 1,600 businesses creating thousands of local jobs."

Economic development legislation proposed and signed by Governor Baker last year also permitted $107.5 million for Massport infrastructure investments at Conley Container Terminal, including the construction of a new berth and procurement of three new cranes.

Twelve of the world’s top 15 shipping lines call the Port of Boston home, up from just five carriers in 2013. Among the port’s cargo clients are Kraft Group’s International Forest Products, L.L. Bean, Jordan’s Furniture, and Christmas Tree Shops.

"Investments we make today into the Port of Boston and the Conley Container Terminal are essential for New England to remain an important player in the global economy for years to come," said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. "We are grateful to our state and federal partners, under the strong leadership of Governor Charlie Baker, Senators Warren and Markey and Congressman Lynch, for continuing to support the port, help modernize Conley’s facilities and allow the harbor to handle even larger ships."

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