April 6, 2020
Dear Colleagues and Business Partners,
In recent weeks, governments at the local, state and federal level have taken specific actions to curb and limit the spread of COVID-19. As of today, more than 100 million Americans have been ordered to stay home to protect public health. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – which specifies trade, transport and logistics as essential industries.
The Port of Brownsville, and especially the Brownsville Navigation District, accepts its responsibility and recognizes the importance of our port remaining operational to support national, regional and local priorities during this difficult time.
The safety and well-being of our people is our top priority. Given the evolving circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken various steps to modify the port’s workplace environment. Some duties that can be performed remotely have been realigned out of concern for our employees, while balancing efforts to keep the port operational to provide a stabilizing influence on the regional economy.
Since March 2, 2020, port leadership has conducted meetings and briefings with our federal partners, port staff, port tenants and users on ways to help protect against and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, we have implemented the following measures to mitigate risks and help ensure the well-being of port employees, tenants and our community:
- We are monitoring the latest information and instructions from public health agencies, and sharing new information with employees, tenants and port users.
- Postponed or cancelled all in-person public events until further notice.
- Shared personal hygiene and workstation sanitation supplies, guidance and recommended actions and behaviors with all port staff to limit the potential spread and impacts of COVID-19.
- Maintaining consistent communications with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), and our tenants regarding expectations for port operations during the pandemic.
- Minimized face-to-face meetings and visits at all port offices.
- Cancelled all non-essential domestic and international travel until further notice.
- Implemented efforts to reduce the number of employees reporting to port workstations daily.
In following preexisting protocols, all arriving ships are thoroughly vetted by the USCG and USCBP prior to entering the Brownsville Ship Channel. To help protect public health, the USCG has implemented an additional requirement that inbound vessel representatives report sick crew members or passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC.
We remain confident, that working together, we can overcome these difficult times. We are grateful for your confidence and cooperation.
March 17, 2020
Dear Friends of the Port,
During this time of uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Brownsville is monitoring and acting on information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Texas State Department of Health and local public health officials.
The Port of Brownsville is currently operating under the existing communications protocol dealing with its overall comprehensive emergency plan, which includes a wide variety of situations including terrorism and severe weather events, among others.
Since March 2, 2020, port leadership has conducted meetings and briefings with our federal partners, port staff, port tenants and users on means to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional advisories will be disseminated to all stakeholders when appropriate, including relevant information by email.
Port staff has also taken the following measures to manage and avoid the spread of coronavirus and ensure the health and well-being of port employees and our community:
- Postpone or cancel all in-person events until further notice, including the State of the Port Address originally programmed for March 24. (Governance of the Port of Brownsville will continue uninterrupted with Brownsville Navigation District meetings, subject to posted limitations.)
- Share guidance and recommend actions and behaviors with all port staff to minimize the potential spread and impacts of COVID-19.
- Maintain constant communication with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and tenants regarding port operations during the pandemic.
- Minimize face-to-face meetings and visits at all port offices.
- Cancel all non-essential domestic and international travel for at least eight weeks.
Working with our federal partners – USCG and USCBP – the Port of Brownsville operates in compliance with the USCG’s strict protocol in dealing with all inbound vessel traffic calling on the port.
As per the established protocol, all inbound vessels are thoroughly vetted by the USCG and USCBP prior to entering the Brownsville Ship Channel. The Coast Guard will continue to review all arrivals in accordance with the then current Marine Safety Information Bulletin (currently MSIB: 02-20 Change 3) and has the sole authority to deny entry of any vessel for safety, security or suspected illness.
The USCBP maintains an office at the port, and verifies required vessel information prior to arrival, and then boards all vessels to confirm reported conditions by the captain and crew.
International trade and commerce at all U.S. maritime ports continues uninterrupted and all maritime operations at the Port of Brownsville are functioning in compliance with established federal guidelines. As COVID-19 conditions and protocols evolve, anticipate changes to normal operations as the U.S. Government enacts new measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
We appreciate your continued support and remain at your service.
Appointments and Meetings
The Port of Brownsville offices will be operating with reduced face to-face meetings. This temporary protocol may change as the situation with COVID-19 evolves and is intended for your protection, and the protection the employees of the port. We ask that whenever possible, please first communicate with port staff by email, telephone, video conference or U.S. Mail. If a face-to-face meeting is warranted, you will be welcomed as usual. We ask for your cooperation and understanding to help minimize the potential impacts of COVID-19. As usual, we greatly appreciate your business and continue to be at your service.
Key Contact Information
- Administrative Offices 956-831-4592
- Permits Office 956-838-7035
- Port Police Department 956-509-2100
- Harbor Master’s Office 956-831-8256
- Maintenance Shop 956-831-8273