Significant Grants from TxDOT Strengthen Port Houston Infrastructure Development
Wharf 6 at the Bayport Container Terminal is now fully operating, adding much-needed cargo volume capacity at the two fastest-growing container terminals in the Gulf. Photo courtesy of Port Houston.
Port Commission Chairman Ric Campo announced during the meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority on Oct. 24 that Port Houston received nearly $36 million from the Texas Department of Transportation, almost 20% of the $200 million granted to Texas Ports. The funds were awarded through the State Maritime Infrastructure Grant Program, the first in Texas history for port maritime and infrastructure development.
Port Houston received $35,981,934 to upgrade Wharves 4 and 5 at its Barbours Cut Container Terminal, which includes reconstruction of crane rails, a new Stevedore Support building, utilities, and more. The total project is expected to cost $77 million and is also funded in part with $21 million awarded under the U.S. Department of Transportation INFRA grant program.
Chairman Campo and Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther highlighted the completion of Wharf 6 at the Bayport Container Terminal. The facility is now fully operating, adding much-needed cargo volume capacity at the two fastest-growing container terminals in the Gulf.
The TxDOT award comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Clean Energy designation of HyVelocity, the Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub, for up to $1.2 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding. Port Houston, as a key organizing partner, supported this effort, focusing on the Community Benefits Plan element of the endeavor.
Chairman Campo also announced that the scheduled completion of Port Houston’s work to widen the Houston Ship Channel is quickly approaching. He applauded the initiative of the Houston Pilots and the Board of Pilot Commissioners, which will be holding its second of two public hearings in December that will amend rules to allow for Neopanamax class vessels to call Houston and ease restrictions on daylight-only transits of larger vessels in the channel, and significantly improve traffic safety as increments of widening in the Galveston Bay reach have been completed.
Chairman Campo said, “We appreciate the initiative to permit safe and more efficient two-way traffic for the benefit of all vessels calling the Houston Ship Channel.” He recognized the proactive measures being taken to address this matter before the completion of Project 11, the expansion of the Houston Ship Channel.
Moving on to the dredging that is integral to channel operations, Executive Director Guenther emphasized that Port Houston “welcomes the opportunity for continued dialogue regarding the dredge work” supporting the channel. He shared that a scientists meeting is now planned for Dec. 7, with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, Port Houston, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and advocacy groups in attendance.
Chairman Campo opened the meeting by welcoming labor union leader Alan A. Robb to his first meeting as commissioner. Robb, a 47-year International Longshoremen’s Association ("ILA") veteran, also serves as President of the ILA, South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District, AFL-CIO. The district represents ILA members on the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Florida and along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas
During this meeting, the Port Commission authorized more than $100 million in awards supporting the continued growth and development of the port.