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Since May 2018, it has been my great honor to service as chairman of the Brownsville Navigation District.

During this period of time, port cargo statistics have demonstrated consistent growth, creating new opportunities for diversification.

The Brownsville Navigation District Commission has shown insightful leadership in designating a path forward for the port. And my colleagues on the Commission deserve a word of thanks for their cautious and correct actions to protect the port in the coming years. 

Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed

The impacts of COVID-19 have been far-reaching. But, as a federally designated essential industry, the Port of Brownsville has fared the crisis well. Port staff embraced the challenge, and did everything asked of them to safely keep the port open and fully operational. This was accomplished in great part with the outstanding cooperation of the United State Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and our supportive port tenants and users. We thank you all.

Even during theses most challenging times, the port has excelled. In 2018, the port reported record operating revenues of $24.3 million, followed in 2019 – the most recent complete reporting period – with another record of $25.4 million.

We remain confident that the port’s future is secure. And Moody’s Investors Service agrees, naming the port among the top three U.S. ports surveyed for strong financial resilience to manage the coronavirus pressures. We are growing the port with responsible, prudent fiscal controls in place to protect the interests of constituents and customers. And billions of dollars-worth of large scale industrial projects remain active while sorting out the timing of the final investment decisions and related key announcements.

These projects will change the economic the Rio Grande Valley by creating thousands of construction jobs, hundreds more high-paying permanent jobs, and millions of dollars in new annual tax revenues to off-set the burdens of taxpayers countywide.

But in the end, the real winners are the jobseekers. Because, after all, that’s what we do – put people to work. According to the port’s most recent economic impact study, the port is responsible for about 8,500 jobs in the region, and nearly 51,500 across the state of Texas And there are thousands of new jobs coming our way. That’s why the Port of Brownsville is known everywhere as the port that works!

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by John Reed, chairman of Brownsville Navigation District. The commentary first appeared in the Port of Brownsville’s 2020 Directory. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the author’s permission.


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