Corpus Christi Ship Channel Project Receives Final-Phase Funding
For Corpus Christi, Texas, the recently passed $1.7 trillion consolidated appropriations bill contained a crucial section that set aside $157.3 million to close out the final phase of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project. The project deepens the 36-mile-long channel to 54 feet and widens it to 530 feet. In addition, the Channel Improvement Project will create an additional 400 feet of barge shelves, which will allow simultaneous two-way traffic for both ships and barge tows.
The $157.3 million in federal funding is the largest single-year allocation for the Channel Improvement Project, according to the Port of Corpus Christi.
“The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project, over 30 years in the making, will significantly increase the ability of our customers and port stakeholders to move greater volumes safely and efficiently,” said Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the port. “Whether supplying critical energy commodities like Texas-produced crude oil or liquefied natural gas to our European allies affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, moving military cargo in support of the American warfighter at home or abroad, or preparing for the next generation of clean energy solutions, the Port of Corpus Christi and its customers play a strategic and humanitarian role in meeting these needs both domestically and globally.”
The Channel Improvement Project is a four-phase effort, with the first phase complete and Phase 2 and 3 currently under construction. Texas-based Callan Marine and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock are contractors for Phase 2 and 3. With funding secured, the port expects work on the fourth and final phase to begin this year, with the entire project complete in 2024.
“It took nearly three decades to commence work on deepening and widening the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, but finally the Port of Corpus Christi and its customers can see the light at the end of the tunnel and final project close out,” said Charles Zahn, port commission chair. “We thank all the administrations and congresses who funded this project—led by our very own Texas congressional delegation—for their unwavering support in making this generational infrastructure project a reality for the benefit of our region, the state and the nation.”
In addition to its ship channel, the Port of Corpus Christi boasts connections to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, three Class I railroads and two interstates.
News of the record funding for the channel deepening project came on the heels of the Port of Corpus Christi setting a tonnage record for the third quarter of 2022. The port’s 48.3 million tons in the third quarter edged out the previous record of 46.4 million tons, set in the second quarter of 2022. According to the port, much of that growth was driven by crude oil exports to western European buyers, who have divested themselves of Russian oil due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Crude oil moving through the Port of Corpus Christi in the third quarter of 2022 totaled 28.7 million tons, while refined products totaled 8.3 million tons. LNG shipments rose by 5.8 percent to 4.2 million tons, while dry bulk totaled 2.1 million tons. Renewable energy components also reached new records in 2022, with a surge of wind turbines and blades moving through Corpus Christi.