The US Congress has passed the 2020 Water Resources Development Act and formally authorised the expansion of the Houston Shipping Channel, according to Port Houston.
The company said the expansion, known as Project 11, has been a priority for almost a decade, and that widening and deepening the channel will make navigation safer and more efficient.
The Houston Ship Channel and the public and private terminals along it moved nearly 285 million tons of cargo in 2019. That was almost 47 million tons more than any other U.S. port and a 6% increase compared to the previous year.
Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said, “Today’s announcement is BIG. The authorization to widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel is BIG for our region, the state of Texas, and our nation.
“It is BIG for economic prosperity and growth of industry that is served by the busiest waterway in the country.”
Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo said the project will bring environmental benefits. “Project 11 is expected to improve regional air quality by increasing the efficiency of vessel movements and reducing potential congestion along the Houston Ship Channel.
“New bird islands and oyster reefs will be created as part of the project,” “The bottom line is an expanded channel that will positively impact the flow of goods in and out of our region.”
The Houston Ship Channel supports 3.2 million jobs in the nation, with 1.35 million in Texas, and nationwide economic impact totalling $802 billion.
As the Houston Ship Channel’s non-federal sponsor, Port Houston has been the waterway’s advocate and strategic leader working in partnership with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Expansion of the channel has been Port Houston’s top priority for nearly a decade.