BROWNSVILLE, Texas – As the only commercial water way on the U.S-Mexican border, the Port of Brownsville will continue playing a significant role in the local, state and national economies, its director said.
Eduardo ‘Eddie’ Campirano, the port’s boss, said Texas ports lead the nation in maritime activity handling about 25 percent of the nation’s cargo industry.
He said the 42–foot deep water way has been a creator of thousands of jobs not only in the Rio Grande Valley but statewide because of the many industries connected to the facility built in 1936.
Some 52,000 jobs have been generated in Texas because of the port, including 8,500 jobs in this region of the Lone Star State.
“We contribute about $3 billion to the Texas economy with $2.6 billion going into personal income,” he said. “A port is about jobs creation. The impact the port has on the U.S. and Texas economies is big.”
Although some people might be familiar with certain aspects of the port business activity such as its shipyard and the off-shore rig manufacturer Keppel-Amfels, the port is home to the nation’s second largest Foreign Trade Zone.
A FTZ is a tool to attract businesses and industries by importing goods and commodities from foreign countries free of tariffs and taxes.
The products are not for the domestic markets as they are exported to other countries.
An example of that are the slabs of steel coming to the port from Brazil and Russia and shipped to Mexico.
Once south of the border, the steel is melted and used for making other products like home appliances, for instance.
In addition to Keppel-Amfels and the shipyard companies, the port stores a variety of petroleum products like gasoline.
Campirano some 1,500 trucks deliver fuel to the port on a daily basis, adding the gasoline people buy at a convenience store is store at the port.
The port, however, could do a lot better if its ship channel gets an additional 10 feet in depth.
According to demographic studies, Texas is projected to nearly double its population by the year 2050.
That means an increase in businesses will take place in all areas of the economy, including the maritime industry, Campirano agreed.
“The most important project for the future of the port is deepening the channel to 52 feet,” he said during a recent webinar hosted by Texas Rep. Terry Canales. “This will allow the port to serve 90 percent of all (cargo) vessels.”
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