How the Floating Pier Off Gaza Will Take Shape

Inside the complicated logistical effort
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2024 1:40 PM CDT
How the Floating Pier Off Gaza Will Take Shape
Troops prepare for deployment to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia.   (AP Photo/John C. Clark)

US Army boats are en route to the Mediterranean holding the equipment needed to build a floating pier off Gaza. The eventual goal is to be able to get the equivalent of 2 million meals into Gaza each day. Nearly all of Gaza's 2.3 million people are said to be struggling to access food. The BBC delves into how the effort will be carried out, and why it's "fraught with potential logistical and security challenges." What you need to know:

  • The manpower: Upward of 1,000 American troops will play a role, though the government has emphasized there won't be any "boots on the ground." Fogbow, described by the BBC as a "little-known private firm" helmed by one-time military and intelligence officials, will assist. Sources say they'll chiefly handle the aid once it reaches shore, though they won't play a role in its distribution. Sources also say the Israel Defense Forces will provide "outer" security to keep people from swarming the beach.

  • The background: Projects like this—called Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS—are far from new. In their earliest form, they date to the post-D-Day days of WWII. The US military has put them to use when getting aid to places like Kuwait, Somalia, and Haiti.
  • The construction: A floating dock will be assembled, as will a two-lane, 1,800-foot causeway. Aid will move from cargo ships to the dock, where it will be loaded onto smaller ships that will take it to the causeway. The Washington Post reports the causeway "will be steered onto a landing site ashore and secured to the ground by non-US personnel." Trucks will then collect the aid from the causeway.
  • Timeline: "Even in a best-case scenario, [the pier] won't be there for close to two months as an effective delivery mechanism," an expert on aid delivery tells the BBC. "We have to account for that as we handle humanitarian challenges over the next 45 days." Indeed, the AP reports four US Army vessels left Virginia on Tuesday carrying steel pier segments and other supplies; it could take them a month to get to the Mediterranean. Construction itself will take about a week. Weather could cause delays, and it will take some time to get the delivery process up and running.
(More Gaza stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.