FREEPORT, TX (November 22, 2021) – The Port Freeport is pleased to announce Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation has completed the first segment of the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project. Port Freeport and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground on the segment in April 2021.
“The completion of Reach 3 is a great accomplishment for Port Freeport and for the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project. A deeper channel will enable Port Freeport to serve a wider range of global vessels and support the region’s growing economy, Port Freeport Commission Chairman John Hoss said. “This project will increase commerce, increase job growth, and increase economic stability for the families in Brazoria County.”
The first dredging contract deepened the segment of the Freeport Harbor Channel adjacent to the Port’s Velasco Container Terminal, referred to as Reach 3, to 51 feet mean Lower Low Water making way for larger, deeper-draft vessels to call Port Freeport. A contract for the second phase (Reach 2 Widening) of the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project Construction was signed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on October 27, 2021.
“The Port Freeport Project is another example of a successful partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District and a Texas port. A deeper, wider Freeport Harbor Channel will allow for safer navigation for modern ships and will accommodate the larger, global vessels in service today,” USACE Galveston District Commander Col. Timothy R. Vail said. “The Galveston District’s goal throughout Reach 3 was to provide a viable engineering solution as quickly as possible, while addressing environmental, social and economic impacts of the project. As we now start Reach 2 – the widening of the channel – we will continue to work with Port Freeport to ensure we remain good project stewards in our joint plan.”
Orion Marine Group will commence dredging on the Reach 2 Widening after the first of the year. Under this contract, the narrowest section of the Freeport Harbor Channel will be widened to 400 feet improving navigation safety for vessels.
“Port Freeport is excited for the completion of the first segment of the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project which opens up access for larger vessels to call the Port’s container terminal that is undergoing substantial expansion,” Port Freeport Executive Director/CEO Phyllis Saathoff said. “With the Channel Project gaining momentum and the new berth facilities nearing completion, Port Freeport is well positioned for continued growth.”
The estimated total cost of the project is $295 million, of which the federal government share is $165 million, and Port Freeport as the local sponsor is responsible for the remaining $130 million to be funded by the 2018 voter-approved bond package. Engineering and Design of the remaining segments is near completion, keeping the project on schedule for efficient and timely completion. The Project is broken into phases and is expected to be completed within the next four years.
Port Freeport is a leading port in the export of crude oil and natural gas liquids and ranked 6th in chemicals, 15th in foreign waterborne tonnage, and 26th in containers. A 2019 Economic Impact Study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute revealed that, nationally, the Freeport Harbor Channel generates 279,780 jobs and has a total economic output of $149 billion. Port Freeport serves Atlantic Container Lines, AMPORTS, BASF, Chiquita Fresh N.A., CEMEX, CMA CGM, Dole Fresh Fruit, The Dow Chemical Company, Enterprise Products, Exxon Mobile, Freeport LNG, Glovis, Grimaldi Lines, Hoegh Autoliners, Kirby Marine, Liberty Global Logistics, Mammoet, MEGlobal, Phillips 66, Riviana Foods, Inc., Sallaum Lines, Tenaris, U.S Department of Energy, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, and Vulcan Materials Company.
Port Freeport is committed to keeping the local community informed of our operation and results. If you have questions or comments about this article, please email or call Tricia Vela, Public Affairs Assistant.