Freeport Harbor Improvement Project Meeting to be Held at Port

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Representatives of Port Freeport will meet with a delegation of Congressional staffers and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to tour the Port and discuss the viability of the Freeport Harbor Improvement Project that includes the plan to deepen the federal channel up to 60 feet and widen it up to 600 feet. Thus far, Port Freeport has received wide-spread, bi-partisan support for this critical project from the Texas delegation as well as the Governor's office of Federal Affairs in Washington. At 60 feet, Port Freeport will be the deepest-draft port on the Gulf of Mexico. Project plans will also include the feasibility of widening the Port’s Jetty and Entrance Channel to accommodate larger vessels and two-way vessel traffic. “Going to a 60 foot depth allows us to bring in vessels more fully laden and allows for safer transport and a more cost-effective two-way traffic,” said Thomas Perryman, chairman of the Brazos River Harbor Navigation District, which has jurisdiction over Port Freeport. The project to deepen the Port Freeport channel from its current 45 feet has advanced to its second phase, following a decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that there is a strong federal interest in conducting the feasibility study of navigation improvements. The Corps of Engineers cited several favorable aspects of the proposed Freeport channel-deepening, including the short distance from port to open sea; in addition, the project will not affect estuaries or bays or the salinity of the Brazos River, and no pipelines or people will be impacted. Preliminary studies indicate that benefits of the deeper channel are expected to exceed construction costs by a ratio of 19-to-1. The project to bring the Port Freeport channel to a 45-foot depth, begun in the mid-1960s, exceeded the 3-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio initially projected and has proven to be a benefit of well over 5-to-1. “Having 60 feet of water depth next to 8,000 acres of land located only 50 miles from the fourth-largest city in the United States confirms that Port Freeport is viewed as a strategic national energy asset,” said Port Freeport Executive Director A.J. Reixach, Jr. Port Freeport is currently the 2nd largest container port on the Texas Gulf Coast, with a channel depth of 45 feet and only 3 miles from the deep water of the open Gulf. The Port offers over 7,500 acres for future development. The Brazos River Harbor Navigation District/Port Freeport serves its customers and stakeholders through the development and marketing of competitive world class navigational capabilities, technically advanced marine and multimodal terminal services and port-related industrial facilities while achieving profits and creating jobs as a leading economic catalyst for the District and the Texas Gulf Coast.
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