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One Step Closer to Wider, Deeper Channels

Thursday, October 25, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ashley McLeod

After years of diligent advocacy by the leaders and membership of the Virginia Maritime Association for Wider, Deeper and Safer channels… we are one step closer.

On Tuesday, October 23rd President Trump signed the American’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which included the authorization for the deepening of the Thimble Shoals Channel to 56 feet and the Atlantic Ocean Channel to a depth of 59 feet.  Additionally, this act authorizes the widening of the Thimble Shoals Channel to 1,400 feet, allowing for two-way traffic and accommodating ultra-large container vessels.  These exceed the existing authorizations to dredge the Norfolk and Newport News channels to 55 feet.

“The VMA celebrates this achievement and commends all port stakeholders and the supporting agencies and elected officials for their contributions toward achieving a “Wider, Deeper, Safer” port.  Combined with ongoing marine terminal improvements and expansion of our inland transportation infrastructure, Virginia is building the premier gateway for trade,” stated David White, Virginia Maritime Association Executive Vice President. 

This is the second victory for VMA members and stakeholders this year. Advocates saw their efforts come to fruition as Governor Northam and the Virginia General Assembly authorized $350 Million to fund these dredging projects.  

The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 authorizes water resource projects and policies nationwide to be administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Click here to view the full outline of the act.


Since the 2006 inaugural Hampton Roads Navigational Summit, The Virginia Maritime Association and the maritime community have included the deepening of the channel to 55 feet and improvements to the Atlantic Ocean Channel as two of its port priority projects. 

However, our efforts go back further than 13 years ago.  Throughout the nearly one-hundred-year history of The Virginia Maritime Association, its leadership has continually sought investment in our port and its channels, beginning in 1924 requesting federal funding for the development of the Thimble Shoals Channel and Norfolk Harbor project, achieving 40 foot depth in 1929 to the 1986 authorization of 55 foot channel, to the 1988 completion of 50 foot outbound, and to the 2005 completion of 50 foot inbound channels.  

Visit for additional history of our accomplishments. 

Thank you to our Anchor Members



Virginia Maritime Association
236 E. Plume Street Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: 757-622-2639
Fax: 757-622-6302