With more than 367 miles of coastline, Texas has 15 ports that annually handle more than 485 million tons of cargo, 1.2 million passengers, generate more than $5 billion annually in local and state tax revenue, and more than $9 billion in federal import tax revenue. Texas does not provide any direct support to the ports. The Texas Department of Transportation provides an annual report on capital needs for the ports and finances "outside the gate" projects that serve port transportation needs. Image: USRA Related Story: Texas Expands Ports, Despite Panama Delays
Rendering depicts the Panama Canal's third set of locks currently under construction. Work on the $5.25 billion project began in 2007 to expand the canal to "Post Panamax" mega-freighters. Initially scheduled for completion in 2014, the opening has been delayed to 2016 after cost overruns and a labor strike that has shut down work on the project. Texas ports expect the expanded canal to increase exports of liquefied natural gas and boost imports from larger container vessels. Image: GUPC
Construction of the third set of locks on the Panama Canal is more than two-thirds complete, but a labor strike has delayed the project, now expected to be complete in 2016. U.S. ports on the Atlantic side of the canal have launched dredging operations, bridge work and other projects in anticipation of the opening. Image: GUPC
With the third set of locks, the Panama Canal will be able to handle so-called "Post Panamax" or "New Panamax" container ships that carry nearly three times as many container units as the current Panamax ships. The larger ships measure 1,401 feet long, 180 feet wide, and 183 feet in depth. Image: Maersk
More than $20 billion will be invested in liquefied natural gas production in Texas if falling oil prices do not derail plans. Federal energy regulators have authorized construction of a plant on the Texas-Louisiana border that would liquefy natural gas for export on LNG vessels such as this one. Another plant has been approved for Corpus Christi. Image: Liquefied Gas Carrier
Houston-based Cheniere Energy is building the nation's first liquefied natural gas export facility at Sabine Pass on the Texas-Louisiana border. The $12 billion facility is expected to be completed in 2015. A similar sized facility in Corpus Christi has also won federal approval.
To accommodate the larger ships expected through the Panama Canal, the Texas Department of Transportation is seeking funding to replace the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge with a higher version. While TxDOT does not fund the harbors themselves, it serves transportation needs "outside the gates," including rail. Image: Corpus Christi First
Dredging operations in Galveston Bay are usually provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep the Houston Ship Channel at adequate depth. With the anticipation of larger ships, ports throughout the state are looking to dig deeper than 45 feet.
The Port of Houston is the busiest in Texas and the second busiest in the nation behind the Port of Louisiana. More than half of the exports from Houston are oil and gas-related products. Image: TxDOT
The Port of Brownsville serves customers in South Texas and Northern Mexico and has become a key player in the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing plans to deepen the port's ship channel. Image: Brownsville United
The last vehicle out of Iraq touched American soil at the Port of Beaumont May 7, 2012. The port handles more military shipments than any other in the nation and is also a major petrochemical export point with the neighboring Port of Port Arthur, Texas. Image: Port of Beaumont.
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