Step Closer for Brownsville Ship Channel Deepening

The Port of Brownsville, Texas, is closer to deepening the Brownsville Ship Channel after receiving a key permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on June 6 to advance the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project (BIH) to its construction phase.

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This permit is the latest milestone in the port’s effort to deepen the ship channel from 42 feet to 52 feet, resulting in significant navigational safety improvements for commercial shipping in South Texas, said the port.

When complete, the Port of Brownsville will be among the deepest ports on the Gulf of Mexico, enhancing its competitiveness by closely aligning with the design features of the expanded Panama Canal.

Planning to deepen the ship channel from 42 feet began in 2007 with a project feasibility study. In 2014, the USACE completed the feasibility study recommending deepening the channel to 52 feet. Two years later the U.S. Congress authorized the channel deepening project, making the BIH eligible to receive federal funding.

The project may cost upwards of $350 million, with construction expected to start in 2020.

The port expects to pay for the project with a combination of public, private and federal funds.