Construction of temporary pier off Gaza coast
Construction of temporary pier off Gaza coastReuters

The US military has completed construction of its Gaza aid pier, but weather conditions mean it is currently unsafe to move the two-part facility into place, the Pentagon said Tuesday, according to a report in the AFP news agency.

The pier -- which the US military started building last month and which will cost at least $320 million -- is aimed at boosting deliveries of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

"As of today, the construction of the two portions of the JLOTS -- the floating pier and the Trident pier -- are complete and awaiting final movement offshore," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists, using an acronym for Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, the official name for the pier capability.

"Today there are still forecasted high winds and high sea swells, which are causing unsafe conditions for the JLOTS components to be moved. So the pier sections and military vessels involved in its construction are still positioned at the port of Ashdod," in Israel, Singh added.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) "stands by to move the pier into position in the near future," she added.

President Joe Biden, in his State of the Union address in March, announced the plans for the temporary pier on the coast of Gaza that would receive large shipments carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelter and provide aid to the Strip.

A day later, Biden said that Israel will provide security for the port he plans to build off the coast of Gaza that would provide aid to the Strip.

Once the weather clears, the pier will be anchored to the Gaza shore by Israeli soldiers, keeping US troops off the ground.

Aid will then be transported via commercial vessels to a floating platform off the Gaza coast, where it will be transferred to smaller vessels, brought to the pier, and taken to land by truck for distribution.

In addition to seeking to establish a maritime corridor for aid shipments, the United States has also been delivering assistance via the air.

CENTCOM said on Tuesday that American C-130 cargo planes dropped more than 25,000 Meal Ready To Eat military rations into Gaza, in a joint operation that also delivered the equivalent of more than 13,000 meals of Jordanian food supplies.

"To date the US has dropped 1,200 tons of humanitarian assistance," CENTCOM said in a statement.

The US warmed up to the idea of airdropping aid into Gaza after Jordan conducted several rounds of such airdrops.

The first airdrop took place in early March and saw US C-130 aircraft dropping 38,000 meals along the Gaza coastline. There have been several other rounds since.