PORT HUENEME, California – Representatives with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, Port of Hueneme and the U.S. Navy, among other agencies, celebrated June 28 as officials cut the ribbon signifying the completion of the Port of Hueneme’s port-deepening project.
The project, which deepened the harbor from 35 to 40 feet, can now accommodate larger vessels, which not only strengthen the nation’s economy, but also strengthen national security, said Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
Construction for the project began in January 2021 – in conjunction with the Corps’ Channel Islands dredging, and operations and maintenance project – which was completed in May 2021.
The Corps’ contractors, Curtin Maritime Corp., completed the dredging work at the Port of Hueneme, while Manson Construction of Seattle completed the dredging, and operations and maintenance project at Channel Islands Harbor. The Channel Islands Harbor project was a partnership between the Corps and the County of Ventura.
During the ceremony – which started inside the port’s operation building before moving outside to cut the ribbon – Balten emphasized the “team effort” and partnership with all of the different agencies that brought the project to fruition – a project that began with a Feasibility Report for the Port of Hueneme Deep Draft Navigation Study in 1999.
She thanked officials from the Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor District, U.S. Navy, the Corps’ team members, as well as Curtin Maritime Corp. and Manson Construction, and the many others who contributed to the project over the last 22 years.
The project is really a “win-win” scenario with many benefits, Balten said, including enabling more efficient cargo operations, safer navigation for larger ships and enabling the port to accommodate larger-sized vessels.
“It’s a great feat and it just goes to show the commitments that we have for economic vitality and ensuring our port infrastructure for many years to come,” she said. “I think that’s just such a big win for everyone and for the Port of Hueneme.”
Additionally, between the Port of Hueneme-deepening and the Channel Islands dredging, and operations and maintenance projects, a total of 2.1 million cubic yards of dredged material was placed along the shoreline, which provides nourishment to local beaches, including Hueneme Beach.
“This is a historical day for the Port as we are finally realizing the completion of a vision by the port, the board and our many partners,” said Kristin Decas, CEO and Port of Hueneme director, in a Port of Hueneme news release. “The ongoing modernization of our port and harbor creates ladders of opportunity for our community, creating local jobs and access to a better quality of life through global trade.”
U.S. Representative Julia Brownley, who represents California’s 26th District, which includes all of Ventura County and portions of Los Angeles County, joined the ceremony virtually.
She said the port is a critical point of entry for the local and global economy and was proud of the partnership between the federal government and port officials.
“The Port of Hueneme is instrumental to the economic vitality of Ventura County,” Brownley said in a news release. “Over the years, we have seen the expansion and growth of the Port of Hueneme as it became a critical point of entry to the local and global economy. The completion of this deepening is the culmination of the port’s extensive efforts to carry out critical upgrades and improvements to its facilities and intermobility. I’m proud of the robust partnership between the federal government and the Port that have seen this project to its fruition. I look forward to continuing to work with the Port of Hueneme to build a strong economic future for the Port – and Ventura County as a whole.”
Becky Haycox, marketing and communications specialist with the Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor District, contributed to this article.