Proving their resilience, Texas ports are surmounting challenges posed by severe weather events and the COVID-19 virus to handle record levels of activity while moving forward with a host of major infrastructure advances.

Not only have Lone Star State ports, like others throughout the nation and indeed the world, had to deal with the viral pandemic, but those of East Texas were struck by Hurricane Laura in late August and again by Hurricane Delta in early October, while February’s historic winter storm has caused extensive disruptions throughout most of the state.

Undaunted, the ports of Texas are forging ahead, as detailed on a one-by-one basis, starting near the Louisiana-Texas line and heading southwestward along the Gulf of Mexico towards the U.S.-Mexico border:

The Port of Port Arthur continues to serve as an East Texas hub of diverse activity along the Sabine-Neches Waterway.
The Port of Port Arthur continues to serve as an East Texas hub of diverse activity along the Sabine-Neches Waterway.

Port of Port Arthur

Despite temporary disruptions to waterway activity related to hurricanes, the Port of Port Arthur, which suffered relatively minor storm damage, has continued to handle diverse cargos while advancing berth expansion. Lengthening by 600 feet of Berth 5 is to be followed by addition of a new 1,000-foot-long Berth 6.

In 2020, the port imported enough lumber to support building of more than 13,000 homes in East Texas and neighboring Louisiana. Other cargos with strong import volumes through Port Arthur include wood pulp, used in production of tissue; wood pellets, a renewable energy biomass; and single-use medical supplies. As a designated strategic port, Port Arthur last year handled moves of more than 11,000 pieces of military equipment. And the port saw exports of more than 25 million barrels of ultra-low-sulfur diesel, while serving as home to shipyard and shrimp-processing facilities.

Port Arthur port officials note that 2020 also brought a new logo and commensurate “Where Opportunity Docks!” messaging, as well as approval of a staff-developed written policy for further advancement of engagement of local woman-, minority-, veteran- and disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Massive furnace units, destined for upgrading of ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery, are offloaded in late November at the Port of Beaumont.
Massive furnace units, destined for upgrading of ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery, are offloaded in late November at the Port of Beaumont.

Port of Beaumont

Located 42 miles from the Gulf of Mexico via the Sabine-Neches Waterway, the Port of Beaumont is kicking off $100 million-plus in infrastructure projects in 2021, leading officials to say the port will look completely different by 2025. Endeavors to get under way over the next 18 months include reconstruction of two berths, to boost general cargo-handling capacity more than 50 percent; adding a new rail interchange track, to double interchange capability; and construction of a 30-acre laydown area. Also, several open storage lots are being improved and/or expanded.

In the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2020, Port of Beaumont…

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