Port Houston Breaks Ground On ‘Project 11’
A groundbreaking ceremony May 3 marked the start of the Houston Ship Channel Project 11 construction program. The nearly billion-dollar project will create safer and more efficient navigation for the ships and vessels calling at the more than 200 private and eight public terminals that comprise the Port of Houston.
The first Project 11 construction contract was awarded by Port Houston at the April port commission meeting and will prepare the site to receive dredged material as the channel is expanded. In addition, more than half of the total $24 million in contracts approved at that meeting were to support Project 11 efforts, further demonstrating the commission’s continued efforts toward stewardship of the channel.
“Our port serves as the anchor for the Texas region,” Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo said. “Expanding the Houston Ship Channel to accommodate the growth of vessel calls, vessel sizes and cargo needs for customers and consumers will continue providing over 3.2 million jobs and $802 billion in economic value to the nation.”
Port Houston is the local sponsor of the Houston Ship Channel, providing stewardship of the federal waterway. Executive Director Roger Guenther praised its strong partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“As we begin construction of Project 11, we have a glimpse into the future we are building,” Guenther said. “This project will enable vessels to deliver goods to our doorsteps, export USA-made cargo around the world, provide safe passage for thousands of ships and shape the livelihoods of millions of Americans for generations to come.”
Galveston Engineer District commander Col. Timothy Vail, who delivered remarks during the groundbreaking ceremony, underscoring its importance, said, “The Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to continuing to partner with Port Houston to deepen and widen this lifeline for our nation’s exporters and importers. Port Houston is a perfect example of ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way.’”
Campo recognized the support and collaboration “of hundreds of stakeholders” including “the steadfast advocacy of our local and congressional delegations, the leadership of Col. Vail and his team, the vision of the port commission and the expertise of our contractors, designers, and Port Houston staff.”
The milestone elicited comments from elected officials across the region and nation. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “Access to safe and efficient infrastructure is critical as more goods come in and out of Texas ports each day.” Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said, “Ensuring this important initiative was brought to life has been a top priority for me in Congress. Expanding the HSC will revolutionize Texas by modernizing and improving our infrastructure, which is a critical step toward advancing America’s energy independence and strengthening our national security.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said, “The Houston area–and our nation–is eagerly awaiting completion of Project 11. This project will support over 1.3 million Texas jobs, $800 billion in economic value to the nation, and will ensure the U.S. remains a top energy exporter. I’m proud to have supported this project since the beginning and look forward to its next steps.”
U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) said, “The Port of Houston, my district, and our country are powered by highly skilled union workers who build and transform our nation’s transportation, trade, energy and technology sectors. I am working hard to make sure that our infrastructure is designed to meet the demands of the modern world, and that it supports a robust, growth-driven and equitable economy.”
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), former chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee said, “I would like to commend Port Houston for the port’s tremendous advancements on Project 11, a critical project that benefits not only the state of Texas, but the entire nation. I am proud to continue working closely as a partner to the Port of Houston. The continued progress on Project 11 will serve to accelerate and augment the port’s success and capabilities into the future.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, “Projects like Project 11 are key to making the Texas economy even stronger, and I congratulate Port Houston for moving forward on the Ship Channel expansion. Project 11 will not only affect the Port of Houston region, but its impact will also be felt throughout Texas.”
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) said, “With nearly 700,000 jobs in the local region generated from terminal activity and more than 285 million tons of cargo handled in 2019, the Port of Houston has been a key component of our country’s infrastructure since 1914. I am proud to support the port in its efforts to expand.”
Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said, “There is no more important piece of infrastructure in Texas and possibly the entire United States than the Port of Houston. The upcoming widening project will bring about more economic development and more jobs. However, we must also look at supportive infrastructure surrounding the port and the associated new developments that will keep the Port of Houston as the premier commercial waterway in the world.”
Lastly, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “The Port of Houston Authority is integral to the economic success of the entire Houston region. The Project 11 deepening and widening project on the Houston Ship Channel will ensure that we can create jobs and expand the capacity to import and export goods into the future.”
Turner concluded by noting the support and appreciation for the collaborative efforts for this milestone. “I sincerely thank the congressional delegation, port leadership and partners involved in this extraordinary endeavor,” he said. “By working together, we are building the infrastructure that is needed to make the channel safer and more efficient. We all benefit from a commitment to invest in the project and secure the Houston Ship Channel’s global position as a strong and competitive waterway.”
The Houston Ship Channel complex and its more than 200 public and private terminals, collectively known as the Port of Houston, is the nation’s largest port for waterborne tonnage and an essential economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas and the U.S. The Port of Houston supports the creation of nearly 1.35 million jobs in Texas and 3.2 million jobs nationwide and economic activity totaling $339 billion in Texas–20.6 percent of Texas’ total gross domestic product–and $801.9 billion in economic impact across the nation.