HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dredging at the Port of Houston Authority’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal is now complete. The Houston Pilots Association has given authorization for the Port Authority to receive vessels with a 45-foot operating draft at its Barbours Cut Container Terminal. Improvements to the Barbours Cut channel are projected to result in over $900 million in combined local, state and national economic benefits over the next 50 years, according to a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
“The growth in containerized cargo through the Port Authority terminals and the increase in Post-Panamax ships coming to the Port of Houston require more draft depth and faster, larger cranes for even more efficient handling of containerized cargo across our docks,” said Executive Director Roger Guenther. “This first milestone for our dredging project represents our commitment to invest in our facilities and accommodate growth.”
Last year, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority awarded a $68.9 million construction contract with Orion Construction L.P. for Bayport and Barbours Cut channel and terminal improvements. The work included modification of the existing Bayport and Barbours Cut channels and berths, and increasing capacity of a federal placement area for future dredged material. The Barbours Cut channel is complete, while the Bayport channel dredging will be completed in 2016.
The dredging project was solely funded by the Port Authority through its operating income. Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria stated, “This investment demonstrates our commitment to drive economic prosperity for the region and further ensures that the Port Authority is America’s distribution hub for the next generation.”
Both channels adjacent to the Port Authority’s Barbours Cut and Bayport container terminals are being dredged an additional 5 feet to match the capability of the Houston Ship Channel. The additional depth will enable ships with drafts up to 45 feet to call at both of the Port’s facilities (as well as the adjacent private facilities). The dredging project also widens or realigns the channels to better accommodate the larger ships that are expected to call with more increasing frequency in the near future. The USACE issued dredging permits last year for the Barbours Cut and Bayport Channels and approval of its assumption of maintenance agreement of the channels.
The Port Authority completed a master plan for upgrades to the Barbours Cut Terminal in 2011 which included dredging the Barbours Cut channel and improving the capacity of the container yard. The completion of the dredging project along with the recent delivery of four Super Post-Panamax wharf cranes to accommodate the larger vessels calling at Barbours Cut even further demonstrates achieving that master plan. The newest cranes are expected to be fully operational in the coming weeks. After all of the improvements at Barbours Cut are completed, terminal capacity at that facility is expected to more than double from 1.2 million TEUs per year to 2.8 million TEUs per year.
About the Port of Houston Authority
For more than 100 years, the Port of Houston Authority has owned or operated the public cargo-handling facilities of the Port of Houston – the nation’s largest port for foreign waterborne tonnage. The port is an economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the nation. It supports the creation of more than one million statewide jobs and more than 2.1 million nationwide jobs, and the generation of economic activity totaling more than $178.5 billion in Texas and $499 billion across the nation. For more information, visit the Port Authority website at: www.portofhouston.com
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