The Galveston Wharves has completed a $2 million infrastructure improvement project at its West Port Cargo Complex to accommodate large roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) construction and farming equipment. In June the port moved its major ro-ro tenant from Pier 10 to the complex, which will encompass 70 acres on the port’s west end when completed.
“This is a major milestone in the implementation of our 20-Year Strategic Master Plan and a big step toward realizing our vision for the West Port Cargo Complex, which will consolidate cargo operations for greater efficiency and growth,” said Rodger Rees, port director and chief executive officer.
“The complex provides direct access to major interstate highways and rail lines, making it an ideal location,” Rees said. “It also alleviates transport truck traffic on Harborside Drive near downtown.”
The 18-month project included new paving, dock repairs, an equipment processing center, and an industrial wash pad for equipment cargo exports. The complex is designed to handle a wide range of cargoes, including ro-ro, large wind turbine pieces and grain with rail service, laydown areas and more.
This is the first phase of a $30 million improvement project to expand the port’s cargo area, improve infrastructure, consolidate major cargo activities, and position the Galveston Wharves and Texas economy for growth.
Relocating the ro-ro tenant from Pier 10 improves efficiencies and opens up Pier 10 for construction of the $110 million Royal Caribbean International (RCI) cruise terminal, another major economic development project included in the port master plan.
Construction of this third cruise terminal will generate an estimated 400 Texas construction jobs and 400 local operations jobs. RCI has begun construction and is targeting completion in late 2022, when the Allure of the Seas begins sailing from Galveston.
Future Plans for Cargo Complex
To further expand long-term economic growth and international commerce, the port plans to further improve the West Port Cargo Complex. Filing three outdated slips will add almost 20 waterfront acres and 2,000 linear feet of docking space. Extending a rail spur to the waterfront will expand cargo-handling to benefit its port tenants. The plan also includes a state-of-the-art security gate and weight station, among other improvements.
This next phase will generate 423 construction jobs, $23.2 million in wages and $1.7 million in state and local taxes, Rees said, in addition to enhancing cargo movement and improving efficiencies, safety and security.