The expansion of the Houston Ship Channel has taken a step closer to completion after a contract for three new Neopanamax electric cranes for the Bayport Container Terminal was approved by the Port Commission of the Port Authority.
According to a statement, the dockside cranes for Bayport’s Wharf No. 5 is expected to cost approximately US$35 million.
The cranes will be operational by 2021 and will be the tallest Port Houston has ever had at 158 feet and will be capable of handling 18,000 TEU ships.
The Houston Ship Channel is the busiest channel in the US and handled approximately 30 million tons of cargo in August 2019, an increase of 7% on the same month in 2018.
Its TEU volume – 2 million – also increased in August, this time by 11%, on last year’s figures as the channel’s revenues reached $260 million.
Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said he expects the TEU volume to increase to approximately 3 million by the end of 2019.
The expansion will include critical-path professional services for engineering design and project coordination. The widening and deepening of the ship channel will, according to the statement, will allow for the channel’s economic growth to continue.
Dredging could begin as early as 2021 and the project fully completed in 2024. It will be the 11th major expansion, the last one being in 2005.