houston ship channel

File Photo: Port Houston

Project to Widen and Deepen Houston Ship Channel Breaks Ground

Mike Schuler
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May 17, 2021

The Port of Houston has started construction on the project to widen and deepen the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel.

The project, known Project 11, will widen the channel by 170 feet along the Galveston Bay reach, from 530 feet to 700 feet. It will also deepen upstream segments to 46.5 feet.

“Our port serves as the anchor for the Texas region,” said Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo. “Expanding the Houston Ship Channel to accommodate the growth of vessel calls, vessel sizes, and cargo needs for customers and consumers will continue providing over 3.2 million jobs and $802 billion in economic value to the nation.”

Port Houston has partnered with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on the project.

“The Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to continuing to partner with Port Houston to deepen and widen this lifeline for our nation’s exporters and importers. Port Houston is a perfect example of ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way,’” said USACE Galveston District Col. Timothy Vail, who delivered remarks during last week’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The first Project 11 construction contract was awarded by Port Houston at the April Port Commission meeting, and will prepare the site to receive dredge material as the channel is expanded. In addition, more than half of the total $24 million in contracts approved at that meeting were to support Project 11.

Port Houston last week reported handling 275,840 TEUs in April, up 25% compared to April 2020. Looking at multi-purpose facilities, Port Houston highlighted April steel imports which were up 15% on the month and 6% year-to-date

Port Houston is the largest port in the Gulf, handling approximately 69% of container traffic in the Gulf Coast and contributing $1.6 million to the Texas economy.

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