Port Tampa Bay Marks Historic Expansion & Deepening of Big Bend Channel

- TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2019) – At Port Redwing, Port Tampa Bay held a ceremony to celebrate a $63 million milestone project.  

"This is the largest project we have worked on at Port Tampa Bay," said Port Tampa Bay President/CEO Paul Anderson. "This is a legacy project that will create benefits at the port for generations to come."

"Dredging has occurred for the past two and a half months. Deepening and widening the Big Bend Channel will allow for larger ships to call at terminals. This effort will ultimately bring thousands of goods through the I-4 corridor, the fastest-growing sector of the state.

“This type of work is often very difficult and it’s the partnerships and this very special equipment that makes it all happen. While performing this deepening work is the objective, performing it safely is what counts,” said David Simonelli, President of Dredging Operations of Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corporation.

Port Redwing is approximately 270 acres of Port Tampa Bay property in southern Hillsborough County. Port officials believe the property will be a major area for warehousing and distribution in the next decade.

This area is served by the Big Bend Channel, which connects to the main channel in Tampa's harbor. Furthermore, the channel serves separate private terminals for Mosaic and Tampa Electric.

The dredging project began in October. The work is deepening the Big Bend Channel from 34 feet to 43 feet, and widening it from 200 feet to 250 feet.

Funding for this project is supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Transportation, Port Tampa Bay and two of the Port's largest tenants: Mosaic and Tampa Electric.

 “This is a major economic engine. For over 100 years, Port Tampa Bay has continued to serve for a catalyst of Florida’s growth by developing infrastructure through partnerships with both public agencies and private partners, creating quality, high paying jobs and allowing our community and our state to continue to expand,” said Florida Department of Transportation District 7 Secretary David Gwynn.

“An improved Big Bend Channel is a crucial step for progress forward for us in our business in the port and in the state of Florida. It’s important to emphasize that this dredging project will ensure greater navigational safety, not just efficiency,” said Corrine Ricard Senior Vice President of Commercial for Mosaic.

“The partnerships that have been created through this project are extraordinarily important. There will be opportunities for us to continue to collaborate and I’d like for this project to serve as a template. At Tampa Electric, we understand the importance of the maritime community to our region,” said Frank Busot Managing Director of Resource Planning and Fuels at Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas.

The company doing the dredging is Great Lakes Dredge & Docks Co.

“Port Tampa Bay has a history of as soon as the core of engineers provides the infrastructure, ships come in the next day to take advantage of them. I’m looking forward to Great Lakes doing their fantastic job, but I’m also looking forward the ribbon cutting, and also to that first ship coming into Big Bend Channel delivering the cargo that we have set up,” said Tim Murphy , Deputy District Engineer, representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.