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Port of Virginia wider channel can accommodate two mega-containerships


The Port of Virginia’s wider shipping channel has opened for two-way passage of ultra-large container vessels (ULCV), reducing the amount of time one of the large vessels spends on berth by up to 15 percent.

Widening the channel is part of the port’s $1.4 billion strategic infrastructure investment package that focuses on creating efficiency, supporting larger cargo volumes and increasing the speed of cargo moving through the gateway.

In parallel to widening the channel, the port is also dredging it and the Norfolk Harbor to 55 feet deep and the ocean approach to 59 feet deep. Upon completion of the $450 million dredging project in fall 2025, The Port of Virginia will have the deepest, widest channels on the US East Coast.

“This is a true advantage for anyone delivering to or from America,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Our wider channel sets The Port of Virginia apart by allowing for consistent vessel flow, increasing berth and container yard efficiencies, and further improving harbor safety.

“Ocean carriers are putting larger vessels into their East Coast port rotations with additional ULCVs on order, and our partners know their vessels will not outgrow our capabilities. In Virginia, there is no concern for channel width, overhead draft restrictions, capacity or cargo handling infrastructure.”

The dredging work began in December 2019, and has been completed with collaboration and support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District Office and state, local and community elected officials.

(Photo from Port of Virginia)