Miami Harbor Improvements Study (I)

May 2023


Miami Harbor Navigation Improvement Study
Investigations (I)
Congressional Districts.: 24, 26, 27, 28


The Miami Harbor Navigation Improvement Study will assess national economic benefits of potential navigation improvements to Miami Harbor. Current alternatives under consideration in addition to the no action plan include widening and/or deepening specific areas within Miami’s federally authorized channels. Issues that are anticipated include concern for hard bottom/reef communities, turbidity and sedimentation associated with dredging operations, seagrasses, threatened and endangered species, and cultural, commercial, and recreational resources. The base year for the study is 2035, with a 50-year planning horizon and will examine both containership and cruise vessels that exceed current sizes transiting the Port today.


Estimated Total Cost* $7,700,000
Estimated Federal Cost*  $3,800,000


     a.  Regular Civil Works Funds: 

Allocation thru FY22 $1,700,000
Allocation for FY23 $0
President’s Budget FY24  $0


     b.  P.L 117-58: Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Law:   

Total Work Plan $2,200,000
Allocation for FY22 $0
Allocation for FY23  $2,200,000

* Estimated Total Cost and Federal Cost include $200,000 for Independent External Peer Review (IEPR), which are 100% Federal Costs.


Port Miami
1015 North America Way, 2nd Floor
Miami, Florida 33132


The feasibility study is examining Miami Harbor’s channel dimensions and depth to accommodate cruise vessels and containerships (14K TEU & 18K TEU) over a 50-year planning horizon. Previously completed study efforts included a ship simulation to determine the required channel for the 14K TEU design vessel, economic evaluations of future without and with project conditions, commodity and future fleet forecasting, environmental impacts, and whether the Miami Harbor Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS) needs to be expanded for the future dredge material.

Resource agency concerns over the presence of coral, hardbottom, and seagrass habitat surrounding the harbor channel limits have prompted a 3X3X3 exception request for additional time (3.75 years) and funds (~$4.49M). The exception provides the time and funds necessary to conduct updated (or current) environmental baseline surveys, environmental impact analysis, beneficial use investigation of dredge material, refinement of the channel design, updated economic analysis, and a tradeoff analysis to determine the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP). The tradeoff analysis includes a supplemental ship simulation with the 10K/11K TEU vessel class in order to provide information on tradeoffs between shipping efficiencies and environmental impacts, in comparison to the study's 14K TEU design vessel. This additional information provides assurances to Port Miami and the public that the Corps is investigating multiple strategies to understand and reduce coral/hardbottom and seagrass impacts to the maximum extent practicable while balancing the navigation needs of the port. The exception package received concurrence from the non-federal sponsor, Port Miami, in February 2021, and was endorsed by SAD on May 11, 2021, and by HQ on November 24, 2021. The ASA(CW) approved the exception on June 6, 2022. Recent appropriations of $2.245M were provided in the FY22 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The study has experienced a 12-month schedule shift to the right from what was originally submitted, because the environmental seagrass habitat surveys required to determine the environmental baseline of the study were not able to be completed within the required summer survey window of 2022 and are planned for summer 2023. The supplemental ship simulation is planned for summer 2023.

Full-Size Map