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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Maritime Logistics Professional

June 6, 2022

Port Houston Begins $1 Billion Ship Channel Expansion Project

On display at the event were some of the many vessels keeping the channel safe and efficient, including Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company’s eco-friendly dredge Carolina, which soon joins the channel work. (Photo: Port Houston)

On display at the event were some of the many vessels keeping the channel safe and efficient, including Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company’s eco-friendly dredge Carolina, which soon joins the channel work. (Photo: Port Houston)

A $1 billion project to expand the Houston Ship Channel kicked off with an official ceremony last week, leading the way for greater safely, efficiency and economic growth in one of America’s busiest waterways.

Known locally as Project 11 because it is the eleventh major construction project of the waterway in its more than 100-year history, the Houston Ship Channel expansion will widen the channel by 170 feet along its Galveston Bay reach, from 530 feet to 700 feet. It will also deepen some upstream segments to 46.5 feet, make other safety and efficiency improvements, and craft new environmental features.

The Port Commission awarded the first dredging contract in 2021, and the entire project is scheduled for completion in 2025.

The “generation-defining” project will deliver tremendous positive economic, safety and environmental benefit for the nation, officials said. 

“This project will enable Port Houston to continue to grow and respond effectively to whatever the future demand in the supply chain has to offer,” said Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther. “A safe and efficient channel is the best way we can position Houston to provide a prosperous opportunity for the next generation.”

The Houston Ship Channel complex and its more than 200 public and private terminals, collectively known as the Port of Houston, is the nation’s largest port for waterborne tonnage and an essential economic engine for the Houston region, Texas and the U.S. The port supports the creation of nearly 1.35 million jobs in Texas and 3.2 million jobs nationwide, and economic activity totaling $339 billion in Texas – 20.6 percent of Texas’ total gross domestic product (GDP) – and $801.9 billion in economic impact across the nation.

“The sooner we complete and utilize the project that delivers an increased $134 million annual economic impact, the better,” said Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo. “And ultimately what this means is more jobs.”

Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works Projects) Michael Connor said, “Army Civil Works is proud to partner with the Port of Houston to invest funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance the expansion of the Houston Ship Channel,” he said. “This project is important on many levels, including improving the efficiency of our nation’s supply chains, promoting navigational safety, and creating environmental benefits through the innovative use of dredged material.”

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern District Commander Col. Kenneth N. Reed, it is also an important project for the Galveston District and the District’s higher headquarters. “As the federal agency that maintains and constructs much of the nation’s public infrastructure, the Army Corps of Engineers continues to work with Port Houston on one of the most impactful infrastructure projects nationwide,” he said.