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            january 22, 2019

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Virginia port to deepen harbour to handle 19,000 TEU vessels


The Virginia Port Authority has been granted approval to deepen the Norfolk harbour from 50 feet to 55 feet and to widen the ship channel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from 1,000 to 1,300 feet by 2024, to enable the port to be able to handle up to 19,000 TEU ships transiting through the Suez Canal.
"As part of our preliminary engineering work, we will be modelling and simulating 16,000, 18,000 and even 19,000 TEU vessels to ensure the project is completed not just for the vessels calling today but for the vessels calling well into the future," said chief public affairs officer Cathie Vick, who added the design work is due to commence on July 1.
Once the work is completed the port of Virginia will become the deepest harbour on the US east coast. The port of Virginia is one of several locations on the eastern seaboard preparing for the future, IHS Media reported.
The port of Charlesto is in the middle of a project to deepen its inner harbour to 52 feet and outer harbour to 54 feet by the end of 2020. A deepening project at the port of Savannah is slated to be completed in January 2020, bringing the depth of the inner harbour to 47 feet and the outer harbour to 49 feet during low tides.
Just as important is the construction to widen the navigational channel east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridg-Tunnel. The US Coast Guard currently stops marine traffic when a larger ship enters or exits the port. The widening would allow unabated two-way traffic to resume and lift one of the restrictions that can throw a vessel off schedule.
"As the regular calls from these 14,000 TEU vessels grow from three to four times a week to seven to 10 times per week, then our window for two-way traffic tightens. So we want to accommodate two-way traffic well into the future," Ms Vick said.

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