Harbor Deepening

The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is underway.

Deepening the harbor is essential to meet the needs of larger cargo ships transiting the Suez and Panama canals as those vessels deliver cargo to JAXPORT terminals. A 47-foot depth for the federal channel will position JAXPORT as the first U.S. East Coast port of call for fully loaded New Panamax class vessels.

Harbor Deepening Facts
Project FAQ
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted a comprehensive, years-long economic, engineering and environmental study of the project, which began construction in Feb. 2018. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2023, based on continued funding from all partners.

The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project is divided into four segments, contracts A-D, which make up the full length of the 13-mile federally authorized project. The current funding model covers the project’s first 11 miles (contracts A, B and C).

The 11-mile portion of the project reached the halfway point in spring 2020, when contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the first 5.5 miles. Contract A, the first three miles, is complete. Contract B, the next 5 miles, is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2020. 

Contract C will deepen an additional 3 miles to Blount Island and is expected to begin construction in fall 2020.


  • JAXPORT currently supports more than 138,000 jobs throughout the region and creates $31 billion in economic impact every year.
  • JAXPORT has grown Asian container volumes nearly 100 percent since 2012.
  • Local jobs associated with JAXPORT’s Asian business grew more than 57 percent in a five-year period.
  • These jobs and this business will leave Jacksonville unless the harbor is deepened to accommodate more cargo aboard today’s bigger ships.
  • More than 15,000 jobs will be created or protected by this project.
  • JAXPORT’s leadership is working diligently to keep this project on time, reducing the scope and ensuring that the returns far outweigh the costs.
  • The best environmental modeling in the world, plus peer review by scores of independent scientists, advocates for the environmental safety of the full project design.


When did harbor deepening start and when will it be completed?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and dredging contractor Dutra began construction of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project in February 2018. The project should be completed in 5-6 years and will take the depth of the federal channel to 47 feet.
What part of the St. Johns River will be deepened?
Congress authorized a 13-mile deepening project, which JAXPORT has always supported. The U.S. Army Corps divided the project into four sections beginning near the mouth of the river. Currently, JAXPORT is focused on funding the first three segments to Blount Island in order to start receiving increased cargo aboard today’s larger ships as soon as possible.
Will the deepening include the Dames Point Marine Terminal?
The fully authorized Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project includes the Dames Point Marine Terminal.
Will there be any new or expanded turning basins, and will the channel still accommodate 2-way traffic throughout its length?
Yes, new turning basins will be added and there will be full 2-way traffic with further widening at strategic locations. The project consists of deepening the existing 40-foot channel to 47 feet; widening at Mile Point, the Training Wall Reach and St. Johns Bluff Reach plus construction of two new turning basins at Blount Island and Brills Cut.
How much will the project cost and who will pay for it?
The estimated cost of the initial three segments is $484 million. Final project costs will depend on contracts awarded for each of the segments. The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project is being funded through federal, state and JAXPORT investments, plus contributions from specific private tenants and potentially from the City of Jacksonville.

More information about the Harbor Deepening project is available on the USACE website.

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