US completes Gaza pier as delivery of critical aid to commence ‘in days’

The US has successfully anchored a “temporary pier” near a Gaza beach, with the delivery of critical humanitarian aid expected to commence “in the coming days”.

On Wednesday afternoon, the US military began towing the floating dock system an estimated 20 miles from the Israeli port of Ashdod to the north of Gaza.

The pier, known as a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system (JLOTS), was installed early on Thursday, the US Central Command (Centcom) announced.

It looks to support “the humanitarian mission to deliver additional humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians,” it said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

The dock is anchored between three to five miles off Gaza’s coast, with a causeway expected to be installed overnight on a beach to the north of the city.

Hundreds of tonnes of food, shelter kits and other supplies has arrived in Cyprus, which will be screened before being loaded onto ships. Deputy commander of Centcom, Vice-Admiral Brad Cooper, said ships would then deliver the packages to the pier.

Gaza pier being constructed (U.S military's Central Command)
Gaza pier being constructed (U.S military's Central Command)

It comes as the UK government announced on Wednesday that a shipment of humanitarian aid, including 8,400 temporary shelters, is in transit from Cyprus to Gaza.

Once JLOTS is fully-operational, it has the capability to supply dramatically more supplies than the airdrops.

The US Navy will chaperone boats to move its stockpiles from the pier to the causeway, which will be connected to shore.

Officials said that aid could begin to be delivered within 24 to 48 hours after it was installed.

“As part of this effort, no US troops entered Gaza,” Centcom said.

“Trucks carrying humanitarian assistance are expected to begin moving ashore in the coming days,” it added.

The United Nations is expected to receive the aid and coordinate its distribution.

The JLOTS system was assembled and waiting in Ashdod earlier this month, costing an estimated $320 million.

Components of the pier were shipped from Virginia to the Mediterranean in March after president Joe Biden announced plans for JLOTS in his State of the Union address.

Weather and security concerns delayed the Pentagon giving the approval for it to be moved towards the Gaza coast.

Permission was given by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for Centcom Commander General Michael Kurilla to move the pier on Tuesday, according to officials.