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Army Corps Awards Contract to Widen, Deepen Corpus Christi Ship Channel

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been awarded a contract to deepen the Port of Corpus Christi ship channel.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. received a $93 million construction contract on Jan. 4, to deepen and widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island, as part of the first phase of the port’s $326 million Channel Improvement Project (CIP).

Corpus Christi is the largest crude oil port in the United States and handles both imports and exports. The port exports about 100 million tons annually.

Charles W. Zahn, chairman for the Port of Corpus Christi Commission said the deeper channel “will allow larger vessels access to much needed export facilities, safely and responsibly.”

The dredging will deepen the entire ship channel to 54 feet from 45 feet and widen it to 520 feet from 400. The full project, which will be completed in phases and take about five years, will permit two-way supertanker traffic, including very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which can carry up to 2 million barrels of crude oil. Great Lakes will start this first phase later this year, which will take about a year to complete.

“We commend the Army Corps of Engineers for progressing the highly anticipated Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project, and the selection of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock to perform on this first contract is an extraordinary step forward in positioning the United States as the largest exporter of energy in the world,” said Sean Strawbridge, CEO for the Port of Corpus Christi.

The CIP will result in the first shore-based VLCC terminal in the U.S. The only other terminal is located offshore.

Based in Oak Grove, Illinois, Great lakes is America’s largest dredging contractor, although much of its work is international.

“We are confident that this will drive the much-anticipated future investment and development in the port,” said Lasse Petterson, CEO of Great Lakes. “It all starts with dredging.”