Port secures $23 million in funding for ship channel deepening, widening

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 17:09:58-04

The Port of Corpus Christi has secured $23 million dollars in funding to deepen and widen the ship channel. The money is allocated to the project in the Army Corps of Engineers 2018 work plan. 

Port officials say this funding will speed up efforts to widen and deepen the ship channel, and once that project is done, Corpus Christi will have the deepest ship channel in the U.S. Gulf.

"The fact that we’ll be able to go deeper means that we’ll be much more competitive. American energy that’s trying to find it’s way to the markets that need it can come to Corpus Christi," Chief Operating Officer Sean Strawbridge said. 

That is the goal of the ship channel improvement project. 

Dredgers are set to be in the water this summer. For that big dig, big bucks: $23 million in the Army Corps of Engineers work plan. The project will move forward at full speed. 

"We can do more work in less time," Strawbridge said. 

Right now the Corps of Engineers is looking to contract a dredging company to begin the first phase of the project, dredging from the jetties to Harbor Island. 

The $23 million will fund the second phase, dredging from the Gulf entrance out to Red Fish Bay. 

"We hope to have this project completed by the end of 2021. It certainly is dependent on the Corps’ availability to execute, and subsequent funding," Strawbridge said. 

Port commissioners are in Washington D.C. now, meeting with the Army and working to get even more funding for next year.

It is an investment that Port officials say will pay off with economic returns for the Coastal Bend, Texas, and the nation. 

"This project will add another $40 billion of goods value to our exports. That means that our trade deficit, which is currently over $500 billion, can be reduced by that amount, $40 billion, right here in Corpus Christi," Strawbridge said. 

This new funding announcement comes in addition to $13 million that the federal government allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers for this project earlier this year. 

The widening and deepening of the ship channel has been a long time coming. The feasibility study for the project started back in 1990.