BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Louis Raphael (Ralph) Cowen, vice chairman of the Port of Brownsville Commission, says more investment and jobs are coming to the Rio Grande Valley.

In an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service at the Brownsville State of the City Address, Cowen said Mexican company Forza Steel are investing $150 million in a new plant at the Port of Brownsville. 

He said the steel fabricator will be creating 140 new jobs.

Ralph Cowen

“We have a new steel manufacturing plant that is under construction right now. Forza Steel will be directly across the street from Keppel AmFELS, right there at the traffic light. They took over the old U-Pull-It site,” Cowen said.

“They are investing $150 million dollars and they will hire about 140 people. They have got the skeleton of the building being erected right now.”

Cowen said Forza Steel has not, as yet, made any public announcements about their new plant. 

“They wanted to be very quiet about going forward. They did not want to announce anything until they had steel up there. They are a Mexican company. They believe in Brownsville. We are on the border by the sea so they can ship by sea or receive by sea. And we are close to Monterrey where they have other operations. It is part of near-shoring.”

According to the biographical details on the company website, Forza Steel has been operating for more than 20 years in the steel market. “We are specialists in the manufacture of carbon steel pipes,” the company states.

“Our Monterrey) facilities are located on a plot of 60 hectares in total, with a production area of approximately 106,000 square meters; In addition, we have a railway line (spur) with capacity for 33 railway cars.”

The plant is located in the municipality of Salinas Victoria, Nuevo León. 

Eduardo A. Campirano

“We manufacture longitudinal seam pipe and helical seam pipe. Both round tubing and square tubing are manufactured with a longitudinal seam under a continuous forming process with electric resistance welding,” the company website states.

“Straight seam round tubing is ideal for fluid conduction, structural use, as well as excellent aesthetic appearance; while the square tube requires less steel in its structure, which allows it to be strong, safe and at the same time lighter than other components.”

The company says helical pipe is manufactured under an interior and exterior submerged arc welding process, which ensures 100 percent penetration of the weld into the pipe.

“The helical or spiral pipe manufacturing process is the most efficient in large diameters, ensuring the quality and competitiveness of our projects. Our products are manufactured with top quality raw materials.”

Eduardo (Eddie) A. Campirano, port director and CEO of the Port of Brownsville, has spoken briefly about Forza Steel. At a South Texas Manufacturing Association meeting in February, Campirano was keynote speaker. 

“We have another company coming in, Forza Steel,” Campirano told STMA members. “This is a Mexican company that wants to come in and kind of wet their toe in the U.S. market. And they’re basically going to be primarily fabricating material pipes, bent steel, for the automotive market, the energy business; the construction business. Hey, a $32 million investment, 50-plus jobs, we’ll take them.”

Campirano also spoke briefly about Forza Steel when appearing on KURV Radio.

“Their first phase of development is 150 jobs,” Campirano said. “It is a fabricator. They will manufacture pipe for tubing, both for the construction industry, the energy industry. It is more of a fabricator than a producer of steel. It is 150 jobs in their initial phase. They are building a facility here at the port. They are also going to be expanding in the future. Their plans call for their first phase to be up and going, hopefully, by the end of the year. They are in full-blown development right now.”

Editor’s Note: Credit for the main image accompanying the above news story goes to Forza Steel.

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