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'This project is critical': Brownsville ship channel to be deepened by 10 feet

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The surge in the usage of the Port of Brownsville is bringing much-needed improvements to the port. A new agreement signed Wednesday will allow the ship channel to be deepened by 10 feet.

The move will allow more ships to pass with bigger loads of cargo. Gulf Stream Marine manages different types of cargo at the Port of Brownsville, including steel and heavy machinery. The deepening of the ship channel will allow the company to expand its services in the Valley.

"We see this as a big opportunity for getting more cargos and other type of vessels, bigger vessels," said Gulf Stream Marine General Manager Ricardo Quiroga.

Port of Brownsville Director Eduardo Campirano says history is being made with the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project, as the port serves as an important hub for the deportation of agricultural products, expanding markets to new cargos and new destinations.

"If you really look at the sustainability of the port going forward, this project is critical,” said Campirano. “There's industry that's waiting to come in as a result of deepening this project. We have customers that want to bring in more product, but they want to bring in bigger vessels."

Once the ship channel is deepened by ten more feet, it will make it the deepest ship channel in the Gulf of Mexico at 52 feet.

"Hence capacity at this particular port will increase the efficiency by which the port can move goods in and out through this harbor,” said Army for Civil Works Assistant Secretary Michael L. Connor. “It will also increase the safety at which this can be done."

Campirano said it's also an opportunity for job growth. 

The improvement project is expected to begin in December or January, and will take at least three years to be completed. 

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