By Esteban Guerra
Brownsville Navigation District Chairman
On May 16, 1936, communities across the Rio Grande Valley united to celebrate the opening of the Port of Brownsville, the first maritime port for the region. As we observe the port’s 87th anniversary, the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) invites the community to recognize and celebrate the numerous benefits that the maritime industry provides to our region.
A beacon of possibilities during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the port cemented its role as a vital transshipment center for agricultural goods in its earliest days, evolving to serve various industries including the steel, energy, shipbuilding, and space sectors of today.
Making a Deeper Impact in the Region
As the port for the region, in 2022 the Port of Brownsville moved 15.2 million tons of cargo which is expected to increase thanks to the growing success of our port tenants. Over 270 companies at the port rely on our efficient multimodal transportation infrastructure encompassing waterways, railways, highways, pipelines, and convenient access to air transportation.
Our advantage as the only deep-water seaport directly on the U.S./ Mexico border has proved successful, however there is still much work to be done. Central to our mission is the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement project to deepen the 17-mile-long ship channel from 42 feet to 52 feet, resulting in significant navigational safety improvements and cost-savings for larger vessels.
The Port that Works
While we are known globally as the port that works, our focus remains on being your port for the good of our community. We consistently strengthen our reputation as a major contributor to the Texas economy. Activity at the port contributes $3 billion to the Texas economy and creates more than 51,000 jobs statewide. In the Rio Grande Valley, the port brings close to 10,000 jobs, adding more than $2.6 billion to the regional economy.
Logistics companies, shipping agencies, and related maritime businesses generate a wide range of job opportunities. These include stevedores, crane operators, truck drivers, warehouse personnel, customs agents, administrative staff, and other supporting roles that contribute to a sustainable workforce. The advantages of the maritime industry have shaped the current and future economy for the better.
National Maritime Day
On National Maritime Day, commemorated annually on May 22, the BND pays tribute to the maritime legacy of our nation, recognizing the contributions of seafarers, shipbuilders, port workers, and all those involved in the maritime industry.
The BND recognizes our deepwater and surrounding natural resources as vital to the advancement of the port. We remain committed to investing in our community by leading business development while providing environmental stewardship and protecting our natural resources for future generations.