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Grain Overseas: Bulk Cargo Dock Rehabilitation Nears Completion

The Port of Brownsville will resume exporting grains by vessel with the rehabilitation of the bulk cargo dock scheduled for completion in August.
The renovation project is part of an agreement the port entered with West Plains LLC in 2016 to restore and operate the grain elevator, with capacity to store three million bushels of grain. Since restoration efforts began, West Plains has invested multiple millions of dollars in its facility, while the port has pitched another $5.5 million to the project.
The bulk cargo dock will work in tandem with the renovated grain elevator to give South Texas and Mexican grain producers access to international markets. Once complete, the modern facilities will be equipped with efficient and high-speed handling of grain through all modes of transportation – truck, rail and vessel loading and unloading.

West Plains currently moves grains, including yellow corn, dried distillers grain, milo, and sugar by rail and truck.

To load and unload the grain and other granular type material from the ships, machines with large conveyor belts will move from one end of the ship to another collecting grain onto the conveyor belt and depositing the cargo from the other end onto storage areas built close to the ship.

Port of Brownsville Update on KURV’s Radio Show

Port Director and CEO Eduardo A. Campirano was recently a guest on KURV’s radio show “The Valley’s Morning News”.

Campirano spoke about the record-breaking year the port experienced in 2018, as well at the steel industry and other important projects that are helping transform the economic landscape of the Rio Grande Valley.

Listen to the interview HERE

 

Ranking among the top U.S. steel ports, the Port of Brownsville moves more steel into Mexico than any other domestic competitor. In 2018, the port moved 3.2 million short tons of steel across the southern border.

Independent Auditor Confirms Record Year and Clean Audit for the Brownsville Navigation District

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (June 27, 2019) —  The Brownsville Navigation District’s (BND) annual external audit confirmed June 26, 2019, verified record operating revenues and tonnage for fiscal year 2018.

The audit reviewed the district’s financial statements and figures, which reflected an increase in total operating revenue and tonnage for the Port of Brownsville for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018.  The total operating revenue was $24,209,767.  This marks a 4 percent increase from the 2017 fiscal year. Total tonnage for the 2018 fiscal year also met and surpassed records, registering 11.3 million short tons, an increase of 6.6 percent from fiscal year 2017.

“The Port of Brownsville is a consistent model of excellence. We are making important financial decisions that have positive returns.  This audit reflects our commitment to transparency and fiscal responsibility,” said John Reed, BND Chairman.

The report was presented by BND Director of Finance, Lorena Hernandez, CPA  and Carlos Barrera, Partner at Carr, Rigs, and Ingram LLC.

“The audit demonstrates that the district and management is presenting and publishing accurate data, that there are no material misstatements and that we are safeguarding the assets of the district,” said Hernandez.

The independent audit firm issued an unmodified opinion given that the BND’s financial statements were presented fairly following standard accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.  According to the audit’s outcomes, the BND is providing truthful records and reporting precise numbers.

The audit’s findings will be published as part of the BND’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

About the Port of Brownsville

The Port of Brownsville is the only deep-water seaport directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the largest land-owning public port authority in the nation with 40,000 acres of land. It transships more steel into Mexico than any other U.S. port. With more than $40 billion worth of projects currently in the works, the Port of Brownsville is transforming the Rio Grande Valley by creating positive investment opportunities and jobs. Activity at the port is responsible for adding more than $2 billion to the regional economy, $3 billion to the Texas economy, and for the creation of more than 44,000 jobs statewide.

Port of Brownsville Achieves Significant Milestone in Channel Deepening Project

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (June 18, 2019) – The Port of Brownsville is closer to deepening the Brownsville Ship Channel after receiving a key permit June 6 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to advance the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project (BIH) to its construction phase.

The USACE permit is the latest milestone in the port’s effort to deepen the ship channel from 42 feet to 52 feet, resulting in significant navigational safety improvements for commercial shipping in South Texas.

“Today we find ourselves on the verge of a new economic era for the Rio Grande Valley and the channel deepening is essential for our continued progress and success,” said John Reed, Brownsville Navigation District Chairman. “These crucial infrastructure projects solidify our presence in the global market and create better economic opportunities for our local workforce.”

When complete, the Port of Brownsville will be among the deepest ports on the Gulf of Mexico, enhancing its competitiveness by closely aligning with the design features of the expanded Panama Canal.

Planning to deepen the ship channel from 42 feet began in 2007 with a project feasibility study. In 2014, the USACE completed the feasibility study recommending deepening the channel to 52 feet. Two years later the U.S. Congress authorized the channel deepening project, making the BIH eligible to receive federal funding.

The project may cost upwards of $350 million, with construction expected to commence in 2020. The port expects to pay for the project with a combination of public, private and federal funds.

Demonstrating confidence in the public-private partnership (P3) strategy, NextDecade Corporation, owner of the proposed Rio Grande LNG natural gas liquefaction plant at the port, announced a landmark agreement with the BND April 24th, agreeing to pay 100 percent of the deepening project from the western boundary of its lease site along the ship channel to the channel’s offshore origin (more than nine miles) – or more than half of the deepening project. NextDecade’s part includes perhaps the most challenging and costly portions.

Other proposed port projects are expected to join the P3, sharing the costs and benefits of deepening the channel.

Completion of the channel deepening is important in attracting new business opportunities and allowing existing companies at the port to further expand their services. In addition, the port will be able to accommodate deeper draft cargo vessels carrying heavier loads, which translates to a greater economic impact per vessel for the region.

 

About the Port of Brownsville

The Port of Brownsville is the only deep-water seaport directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the largest land-owning public port authority in the nation with 40,000 acres of land. It transships more steel into Mexico than any other U.S. port. With more than $40 billion worth of projects currently in the works, the Port of Brownsville is transforming the Rio Grande Valley by creating positive investment opportunities and jobs. Activity at the port is responsible for adding more than $2 billion to the regional economy, $3 billion to the Texas economy, and for the creation of more than 44,000 jobs statewide.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is the latest milestone in the Port of Brownsville’s effort to deepen the ship channel from 42 feet to 52 feet, resulting in significant navigational safety improvements for commercial shipping in South Texas.

Rio Grande Valley Prepares for Job Influx

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Companies investing in the Rio Grande Valley anticipate high demand for workers that may exceed 9,000 jobs, according to seven large employers attending a Workforce Summit held May 23 at the Port of Brownsville.

Initial demand will be driven by three proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants. The companies are set to receive their Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permits and commence construction within the next three years. During the construction phase these companies estimate a need for more than 6,000 workers alone.

Two current companies at the Port of Brownsville along with two other potential tenants listed the need for an additional 3,000 workers in several full-time and temporary positions.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our workforce. The jobs are going to be plentiful, they’re going to pay well, but we need to educate and train our current workforce to take those jobs that are going to become available,” said Pat Hobbs, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions Cameron County.

To create a general picture of the labor force needs and training required, representatives from Rio Grande LNG, Annova LNG, Texas LNG, Andalusian Energy, Big River Steel, Keppel Amfels and International Shipbreaking, Ltd. met with local trade schools, universities, and economic development corporations to outline job categories, timelines, numbers, skills and certifications needed.

In turn, community organizations had an opportunity to ask questions, and outline the talent and qualifications of the workforce in the Rio Grande Valley. The region graduates a great number of qualified and prepared engineers who are forced to leave the area due to the lack of jobs in their respective careers, according to Veronica Gonzales, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Valley electricians and welders shared similar challenges.

The workforce summit was hosted by the Port of Brownsville, the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions Cameron. Before the summit, guest employers sat down with TWC Chair Ruth Hughes in a private meeting to outline future challenges of fulfilling workforce needs and find matching state grants or aid.

“We have a lot of different reasons why people have jobs, take jobs, keep jobs and we want to make sure we address all of them and that we really help people succeed in Texas,” Hughes said. “We really think that that’s our miracle the way that competing companies and competing EDC’s, competing schools can come together and train a workforce so that there’s enough for everyone to go around and our grants will help and assist in reaching some of those goals.”

The summit will elect a steering committee and schedule future gatherings to continue to unite stakeholders.

 

More than 60 representatives from various trade schools, universities, workforce development and economic development organizations met at the Workforce Summit held May 23, at the Port of Brownsville.

 

Representatives from Rio Grande LNG, Annova LNG, Texas LNG, Keppel Amfels, International Shipbreaking Ltd., Andalusian Energy, and Big River Steel met with Texas Workforce Commission Chair Ruth Hughes to discuss workforce needs and grant training opportunities offered by the state.

 

Representatives from Rio Grande LNG, Annova LNG, Texas LNG, Keppel Amfels, International Shipbreaking Ltd., Andalusian Energy, and Big River Steel met with Texas Workforce Commission Chair Ruth Hughes to discuss workforce needs and grant training opportunities offered by the state.

 

More than 60 representatives from various trade schools, universities, workforce development and economic development organizations met at the Workforce Summit held May 23, at the Port of Brownsville.

 

 

Texan Cement Invests in Success

BROWNSVILLE, Texas —  Texan Cement plans to expand its storage capability of 14,000 short tons of cement to 40,000 to fit growing volume demand in the Rio Grande Valley.

The expansion is phase two of a plan to transform Texan Cement’s entire operation from a big bag operation- transportation of cement in bags that resemble grocery store bags- to a bulk and cement terminal. The capital investment for the project is $10 million of which the company has spent $1.5 million.

“The Rio Grande Valley has grown and the demand for cement, specifically our cement and our price point that we have, is growing so much that we’re constantly having to extend our hours so that we can meet demand,” said J. C. Echeverria, CFO and Operations Officer of American Cement Advisors, Texan Cement’s parent company.

The growing diversity of industries doing business in the Rio Grande Valley and at the Port of Brownsville encouraged the company to plan the $10 million investment and increased the urgency for extended capabilities.

The company receives shipments of cement in big bags that transport 1.5 metric tons of cement. The bags are broken at the warehouse, and the cement is siphoned into silos for transportation. As part of phase two, the entire warehouse would be sealed to contain all cement in bulk. The company is still considering options for the transportation of cement from ships to the warehouse.

The company’s goal is to complete the expansion project by December 2019. Texan Cement’s first shipment of cement arrived June 2017. For the past two years the company improved its operations by leaps and bounds and continues to work to give back to the port and the community.

 

The expansion is phase two of a plan to transform Texan Cement’s entire operation from a big bag operation to a bulk and cement terminal.

BND Commemorates Peace Officers

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The Brownsville Navigation District honored the dedicated work and sacrifice of Port PD officers and all other peace officers around the nation during National Peace Officers Week held May 13-17.

To commemorate the honorable work and sacrifice of peace officers everywhere, the BND Board of Commissioners passed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and the week in which the date falls as National Peace Officers Week in the Port of Brownsville.

The port’s Police Department also hosted a peace officer memorial ceremony May 16. The officers received badges to commemorate the event and gear bags with the traditional blue line that denotes service.

“Police like any other profession each have an understanding amongst each other for what they do and what they go through on a daily basis, the thin blue line demonstrates support for each other in performing a difficult job, for police officers, it is an encouragement to stand on that line together in service of others and protecting society,” said Carlos Garcia, Chief of Police and Security of Port of Brownsville.

National Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police week pays tribute to local, state and federal peace officers who have died in the line of duty while serving and protecting. The observance also raises awareness for the ongoing need to be vigilant against possible acts of crime including extreme violence and terrorism.

 

Carlos Garcia, Chief of Police and Security for the Port of Brownsville, speaks during a peace officer memorial ceremony held May 16 at the Port of Brownsville.

 

To commemorate the honorable work and sacrifice of peace officers everywhere, the BND Board of Commissioners passed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and the week in which the date falls as National Peace Officers Week in the Port of Brownsville.

Bluewing Moves Forward with Expansion Project

Bluewing Midstream LLC is expanding its liquid storage capacity at the Port of Brownsville to support growing customer demand.

The liquid bulk terminal and logistics operator began construction of its Phase II expansion project in May with the intention to commence operations in late 2019.

Upon completion, the project will add 300,000 barrels of new liquids storage capacity capable of handling gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products. Phase II, when combined with Bluewing’s existing assets in the Port of Brownsville, will provide existing and potential customers approximately 1.1 million barrels of storage capacity serving South Texas and exports to Mexico and other international markets.

“We are very excited to break ground on our Phase II expansion project and continue to build upon our existing operations,” said Bluewing CEO Todd Reid. “Phase II will allow us to advance our strategic organic development vision while continuing to provide flexible and efficient terminal and logistics solutions to our customers.”

Bluewing Midstream LLC is expanding its liquid storage capacity at the Port of Brownsville to support growing customer demand (Photo courtesy of Bluewing Midstream LLC).

NextDecade Signs EPC Contract with Bechtel

NextDecade Corporation announced May 28 the signing of two contracts with Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG proposed project at the Port of Brownsville.

The EPC contracts are for the first phase of the Rio Grande LNG project, which consists of three liquefaction trains, two 180,000 cubic meter storage tanks and two marine berths totaling $9.565 billion. Each liquefaction train is expected to have capacity up to 5.87 million tons per annum of LNG, which would generate an EPC cost of approximately $543 per ton for the first three trains.

“Bechtel’s extensive experience developing LNG projects on the U.S. Gulf Coast, along with our advantaged site and technology choices, is expected to enable NextDecade – in just the first three trains – to have the lowest cost per ton greenfield LNG project built on the U.S. Gulf Coast under a fully wrapped lump-sum turnkey EPC contract,” said Matt Schatzman, NextDecade’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Read complete press release