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The complicated logistics of building and running an aid pier for Gaza

Cargo ships will offload aid onto a U.S.-operated offshore pier, where it will be ferried to an 1,800-foot floating causeway to the shore. No U.S. servicemembers will set foot in Gaza.
Gaza aid pier map
Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 29, 2024

U.S. Navy ships and Army vessels are bringing logistical know-how and engineering might to an urgent and enormous challenge: fulfilling the U.S. promise to bring in aid by sea to starving Gazans.

Israel Defense Forces released video on Saturday that shows a wide, bulldozed area adjacent to the beach where trucks will load up on aid for distribution to areas of northern Gaza which have been largely cut off from humanitarian assistance.

The more difficult and complicated engineering work is happening off the coast, where U.S. servicemembers are working to implement a workaround solution to the bottleneck in aid reaching Gaza.

The project involves U.S. Navy ships including the MV Roy P. Benavidez, based in Newport News, Virginia and the U.S Army vessel USAV GEN. Frank S. Besson, based at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

The project has its own acronym: JLOTS, which stands for joint logistics over-the-shore capability. Put more simply, cargo ships carrying aid will offload onto a U.S. operated offshore pier, which will then be ferried to an 1,800-foot floating causeway to the shore.

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U.S. officials emphasized that none of the 1,000 servicemembers involved in the operation will set foot on Gazan shores. Trucks driven by non-Americans will transport the aid off the causeway.

Tasked with the deployment are soldiers from the Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade, based at Fort Eustis, Virginia and Virginia and sailors from Naval Beach Group 1, based in Coronado, California.

Pentagon officials said Monday that aid delivery was on track to begin in early May.

Critics in congress are concerned that the mission puts U.S. sailors, soldiers, and contractors in a vulnerable position — especially after a mortar shell landed in the area where the pier is being erected.

According to a U.S. military official, 90 truckloads of food and medicine will begin arriving each day by sea, beginning sometime next month. That number will later ramp up to 150 truckloads.