Savannah Harbor Deepening Complete
Dredging work to deepen Savannah Harbor has wrapped up, reducing tidal restrictions for mega-ships transiting the Savannah River to clear the way for expedited cargo movement.
Dredging for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project started in September 2015, adding five feet in depth to the shipping channel. Initial feasibility studies for the harbor deepening began in 1997.
“After more than 20 years in the making, we are thrilled to mark this accomplishment today,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “A deeper channel means more than just efficient passage for the largest vessels calling the U.S. East Coast. It means continued opportunity, job growth and prosperity for the people of our state.”
Deepening the Savannah Harbor to 47 feet at mean low water (the average depth at low tide), provides ample draft for vessels carrying 16,000+ twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU), allowing ships to transit the river with more containers each trip and during more hours of the day. Along with Savannah’s 7-foot tidal swing, the water is as deep as 54 feet at high tide.
The deeper water enables ships to load up to approximately 1,000 containers worth of additional cargo, for increased efficiency in vessel transport.
According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study, the project is expected to net more than $291 million in annual benefits to the nation, or approximately $7.70 for every dollar invested in the project.
Col. Joseph R. Geary, Commander, Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said, “Complemented by unprecedented remediation efforts, the economic and environmental benefits provided through shipping efficiencies will drive healthy growth in the Southeast for decades to come.”