International Dredging Review

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In April, bipartisan members from the Texas Congressional Delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging for more funding for the Port of Corpus Christi’s Ship Channel Improvement Project (CIP).

U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, Mike Conaway, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Mac Thornberry, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Lamar Smith, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, Henry Cuellar, Filemon Vela, Vicente Gonzalez and Blake Farenthold asked the Corps to use additional discretionary funds provided by Congress in the Omnibus spending package to complement the $32 million the port accelerated to the Corps per the Project Partnership Agreement last year.

CIP will expand the port’s channels, allowing more and larger supertankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels. The delegation said that providing sufficient funding this year will allow the Galveston District to execute the first two contracts for the project.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also showed his support for the Port of Corpus Christi and other ports around the state.

“The benefit to our economic and national security is unrealized because of the bottleneck caused by ports unable to transport the very materials that promote national and energy security,” the Governor’s letter read. “In fact, ships leaving energy dominant ports must short fill their vessels at the refineries and facilities then move offshore to get to capacity because the bulk carriers are unable to pass through Texas channels without dragging. Investing in our waterways will help the United States to lead the way in energy dominance and strengthen our national and economic security.”

The Port of Corpus Christi plays a crucial role in facilitating the export of U.S. energy. When the ban on the export of U.S. crude oil was lifted in December 2015, the Port of Corpus Christi oversaw the first shipment of it abroad. Since then the port has gone on to handle more than 60 percent of the nation’s domestic crude oil exports, while continuing to export significant quantities of refined petroleum products. When Cheniere’s Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility goes fully online later this year, the port will play a similar role in the continued expansion of U.S. LNG exports.

The Port of Corpus Christi is committed to completing CIP by 2021 and securing the necessary funding. CIP is one of several Texas port projects that is fully authorized, but has faced funding hurdles and this is the second letter of support from Gov. Abbott on behalf of these water port projects.