On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, the Port of Corpus Christi celebrated the commencement of the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project, marking a historic milestone in the United States’ progress to becoming the net exporter of the nation’s energy production. At a special ceremony that included area dignitaries and community partners, the Port of Corpus Christi spotlighted the first dredgers in the Gulf, as Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company kicked off the highly anticipated Channel Improvement Project, an undertaking that will deepen and widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from 47 to 54 feet and widen it from 400 to 530 feet.
“This moment has been 20 years in the making, and our team at the Port of Corpus Christi is not only excited, but we are humbled and deeply honored to play a role in the American energy renaissance,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “We are building and enhancing infrastructure and collaborating with new partners as we prepare to accommodate major growth in crude oil production.”
Following the famed 40-year ban on crude oil exports, the Port of Corpus Christi handled the first shipment of U.S. crude oil abroad on December 31, 2015. Its location on the Gulf of Mexico and proximity to the West Texas oil and gas boom drove demand and traffic for the Port of Corpus Christi.
Three years later, in 2018, the Port of Corpus Christi exported $10.8 billion worth of crude oil to U.S. trading partners contributing to the offset of the United States trade deficit. The Port of Corpus Christi currently is the 4th largest port in the United States in total tonnage, and the expectation is that the Port’s crude oil exports will triple, and perhaps quadruple, as production continues to increase.
“Our port has been working toward this moment since 1990. This achievement reinforces our position as ‘The Energy Port of the Americas.’ In the Port of Corpus Christi chronology, today, we made history,” said Charles W. Zahn, Jr., Port of Corpus Christi Authority Commission Chairman.