The latest economic impact report shows that the Port of Brownsville generated $3 billion in annual economic activity that produced $201 million in tax revenues and supported more than 51,000 jobs across Texas. And we’re just getting started.

As the only deep-water port on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Port of Brownsville is a unique resource in the complex world of logistics. We are strategically located close to major manufacturing centers, energy sources and agriculture markets in both the United States and Mexico. We have convenient rail and interstate highway access into both countries, connecting shippers and producers with markets around the world.

Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed

We support more than 230 companies currently operating at the port, providing a reliable base for local jobs, taxes and economic activity for the entire region. And unlike most ports, we have ample available land that is needed to support large-scale operations like ship recycling, transit of massive wind-power turbines, and heavy manufacturing. We have 40,000 acres and 17 miles of waterfront access, allowing us to carefully balance economic and environmental priorities to provide a safe, secure and sustainable center for international trade.

But the latest economic impact figures do not tell the whole story.

This year, we will inaugurate an additional liquid cargo dock to support the growing demand for energy products. We will open a rehabilitated bulk cargo dock that will create new opportunities for the movement of grain and other agricultural products. And we will open a new staging platform that facilitates shipbuilding operations, putting Brownsville on the global map as a growing maritime manufacturing center.

With the backdrop of these exciting developments, we await the careful regulatory approvals for a series of additional investments to bring new energy operations to the port that will create even more career opportunities and economic opportunities for generations throughout the Rio Grande Valley – beyond the 8,500 who currently have jobs related to the port. We await final decisions surrounding a potential new state-of-the-art steel mill that would create additional long-term economic opportunities. These potential investments total almost $40 billion, positioning Brownsville to be perhaps the most active center of economic development in Texas and beyond.

To support this increased activity, we continue to prepare for the deepening of our ship channel to 52 feet from the current 42 – opening up opportunities for larger vessels from around the world. This project will be an innovative partnership between public, private and federal funding to responsibly share costs while making a significant investment in the future.

While today’s economic impact report is very impressive, indeed, we remain very excited about the opportunities ahead as our recent investments begin to generate new growth and new jobs. We await approvals on future investments, knowing that – as shown in the report – our success here radiates throughout the Rio Grande Valley and the State of Texas.

We’re just getting started, at the port that works.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column by John Reed first appeared in the Brownsville Navigation District’s monthly newsletter, Port Matters. Reed is chairman of the board for the district.