The Army Corps of Engineers, as expected, has awarded Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. a $51.9 million option for the project to deepen the Port of Miami's harbor to 50 feet, which will enable it to receive the largest containerships in operation today.
Great Lakes last year won the original $122 million contract to deepen the entrance to Port Miami. The excavation work is expected to be completed in 2015, before the Panama Canal Authority finishes its own expansion project that will enable 14,000-TEU ships to transit between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, which analysts predict will lead to various new hub-and-spoke transportation patterns.
The second contract provides access to the port's berthing areas as well as dredging of Fisherman's Channel and a turning basin. Another $31.6 million remains to be awarded under the Army Corps' current plan.
Great Lakes said its cutter suction dredge Texas
, the largest vessel in its fleet, will conduct the majority of the dredging operation.
Depending on a range of budget and technical factors, the dredging could take the bottom down to 52 feet.