FACT SHEET - New York and New Jersey Harbor Deepening

Navigation Project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published March 29, 2021

DESCRIPTION (PROJECT AREA AND PURPOSE):  The Port of New York and New Jersey is the premier gateway to the world. It is a conduit of global commerce and a major generator of jobs and economic activity. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast of North America, the second largest in the nation, and one of the most productive high-volume port operations globally.

In 2019, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey facilitated the movement of approximately 7.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).  Getting goods into the hands of the consumers through an efficient and reliable transportation network is the cornerstone of the port’s competitive edge with global markets. The port has premier access to rail, road, and inland waterway routes to transport goods to 23 million local consumers and up to 100 million customers within 36 hours at markets all over the U.S. and Canada.

The Port of New York and New Jersey’s six container terminals receive vessels from all of the world’s major ocean carriers serving nearly every region of the world.  Of the services that call on the Port of New York and New Jersey, 74 percent are first calls. Prior to the initiation of the Harbor Deepening Program, channels to the Harbor were inadequate to provide access to the large post-Panamax ships, which have drafts of 48 feet or more.

PROJECT AUTHORIZATION: Section 101(a)(2), Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-541)

The project area is the main navigation channels in the Port of New York and New Jersey that support the container terminals. The non-federal sponsor is The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The authorized project, which began construction in 2004, provided 50-foot water access to the container terminals by deepening Ambrose Channel from deep water in the Atlantic Ocean to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Anchorage Channel from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to its confluence with the Port Jersey Channel, the Kill Van Kull Channel, the main Newark Bay Channel to Port  Elizabeth and the Port Elizabeth and South Elizabeth tributary channels, the Arthur Kill Channel adjacent to the New York Container Terminal (otherwise known as the Howland Hook Terminal), and the Port Jersey Channel.

The project also facilitated the beneficial use of all 52 million cubic yards of dredged material from the channel deepening project.  The dredged materials included silts, sands, glacial deposits such as till and clay, as well as six different types of bedrock.  Some of the beneficial uses included creating fishing reefs from blasted rock, restoring marshes, capping the ocean Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS) off of New Jersey, and capping/remediating existing impacted landfills and brownfields in the region.

STATUS: The project’s construction included 21 dredging contracts and construction of four marsh restorations. Two marsh restorations at Woodbridge, NJ and Elders Point East, Jamaica Bay, NY (‘06-‘07, 40 acres of wetlands) were constructed as mitigation for the channel deepening.

In 2009 through 2012, the project was modified to include the restoration of two additional Jamaica Bay marsh islands (Elders West and Yellow Bar Hassock) through the beneficial reuse of dredged material. In 2010 with 100 percent non-federal sponsor funding, 339,235 cubic yards of sand was beneficially used for the restoration of Lincoln Park, New Jersey.

Two of the last 3 contracts involved the removal of accumulated shoals and debris partially due to Hurricane Sandy in previously deepened channel areas inside the Narrows to facilitate transition of the project from construction to operation. The final contract for the 50 ft. channels involved the removal of material in 5 separate utility corridors and other shoals in the Anchorage and Port Jersey Channels, and sequenced with the completion of the abandonment of 2 New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) water supply siphons within the Anchorage Channel as a new line was relocated deeper under the channel. This relocation by The Port Authority of NY & NJ and the New York City Economic Development Corporation was severely impacted and delayed by Hurricane Sandy.  The utility corridor deepening contract was awarded in December 2015 and completed in September 2016 as the water siphons were relocated and the old siphon lines abandoned.

One additional navigation construction contract, on an associated project in the Arthur Kill Channel, was completed in the Arthur Kill Channel, deepening the channel to the Phillips 66 Refinery to – 40 ft. mean low water depth from the previous 35 ft. channel depth in 2018.  A small area of the – 40 ft. mean low water Arthur Kill Channel remains to be performed where the dolphins of the former Goethal’s Bridge existed and were removed in 2019.  Due to the small size/area of this remaining work and for cost efficiency, it will be a separately funded line item within another Corps’ planned navigation channel construction or maintenance contract in the Port in 2022 or 2023.


Original Total Estimated Program Cost Estimate: $2.965B

Actual Total Program Cost (2016): $2.1B (Cost savings of $800M*)

Benefit to Cost Ratio: 6.8

*Cost savings achieved by combining authorities to allow for efficient acquisition strategies and execution.



Mr. Bryce Wisemiller
Project Manager

P: (917) 790-8307

Email: bryce.w.wisemiller@usace.army.mil

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District 
26 Federal Plaza

New York, NY 10278


CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: NY-07, NY-10, NY-11 and NJ-06, NJ-08, NJ-11