Port Houston invests $450 million to expand Houston Ship Channel

Written by Maureen Cooney, Marine Log Staff
Port Comm ission awarded Houston Ship Chanel expansion contracts

The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority has awarded largest contracts in the port’s history to Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime.

The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority met Friday in a special session and awarded two of the largest contracts in its history. The commission approved the staff’s recommendation to award Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corporation contracts totaling $430 million to complete the remaining Galveston Bay segments of the Houston Ship Channel expansion project.

“It’s an exciting day for Port Houston and the entire region and the millions of people who rely on the Houston Ship Channel for their livelihood and to bring them essential goods,” chairman Ric Campo said. “One of today’s contracts to support Houston Ship Channel Expansion – Project 11 is historic and, to our knowledge, the largest award ever made.”

Houston Ship Channel expasion plan
Houston Ship Channel Expansion Program – Project 11 segment map.

Port Houston staff recommended Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corporation based on the best value, including cost, schedule, environmental components, and Small, Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprises (S/MWBE) inclusion.

“The teams recommended were the top proposers in all of these areas – best schedules, lowest costs and estimated NOx emissions, and most S/MWBE inclusion,” executive director Roger Guenther said in his report. “Nearly 32% of the contracts will go to S/MWBE companies furthering our commitment to business equity, which is a priority for Port Houston.”

Nearly 52% of the contract amounts are dedicated to the creation of marshes, bird islands and oyster reefs.

Both Campo and Guenther expressed appreciation to all involved in the historic collaborative effort, especially the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Houston Pilots, and industry partners.

According to the USACE, the Houston Ship Channel is the busiest waterway in the nation. Port Houston’s eight public terminals and more than 200 private facilities have an economic impact of nearly $802 billion in annual activity to the nation, and support more than 2.1 million U.S. jobs.

Project 11 is 82% funded, and efforts continue to secure the remaining federal funds. When complete, the USACE study shows Project 11 should add more than $133 million annually in national economic value.

The Port Commission approved all of the items on the agenda, totaling $450 million supporting the channel expansion efforts.

“The Houston Ship Channel is vital in our region and we are proud to continue to invest in our collective future,” Campo said.

Last month, during its regular meeting, the Port Commission also awarded approximately $30 million towards continued investments in landside infrastructure and terminal operations.

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