Air Freight News

Port of Brownsville breaks into the top 50 ranking for cargo movement in U.S.

May 24, 2024

The Port of Brownsville’s record-breaking streak continues as it rose to 50th position in the nation among 150 maritime ports for the movement of waterborne cargo, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2022 Annual Report.

Throughout 2022, the port’s waterways handled 9.1 million tons of cargo marking an increase from 2021’s 8.9 million tons. The new numbers pushed the port from the 55th position to 50th on the list.

This upward trend continued throughout 2023 as total cargo tonnage at the port rose to 17.8 million tons, up 17% from 15.2 million tons in 2022, according to unaudited reports for FY 2023. Waterborne cargo accounted for approximately 12.3 million tons while non-waterborne cargo totaled 5.5 million tons.

Traffic at the Port of Brownsville recorded robust vessel activity in 2023 with 2,561 vessel calls, signaling a 46% increase from the previous year’s total of 1,754, according to unaudited reports.

Leading commodities at the Port of Brownsville include steel, liquid bulk products, wind energy components, and a variety of aggregates. Traffic at the port recorded robust vessel activity in 2023 with 2,561 vessel calls, signaling a 46% increase from the previous year’s total of 1,754.

"Climbing to the 50th position of our nation’s top maritime ports is a major accomplishment. These larger cargo volumes mean big business for the region and the State of Texas," said Interim Port Director and CEO William Dietrich. "As we anticipate continued growth, we are committed to enhancing our infrastructure and expanding future opportunities at the port."

Strategically located at the intersection of key shipping lanes linking the United States and Mexico, the port has served as a vital gateway for international trade since it first opened in 1936.

Currently underway at the port, the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement project will deepen the 17-mile-long Brownsville ship channel from 42 to 52 feet to accommodate larger vessels with heavier loads and enhance navigational safety. Also, the port’s 118-acre industrial business park, currently in its construction phase, is attracting diverse industries strengthening its commitment to bring good-paying jobs to the region.

Furthermore, in progress is Rio Grande LNG’s 984-acre facility at the port. The development entails the liquefaction of natural gas for export to international markets, promising significant economic benefits for the region, state, and nation. The construction of this facility alone is expected to create over 5,000 jobs in the area and is projected to provide an increase in gross domestic product, estimated to reach $6 billion in Cameron County, $23 billion in Texas, and up to $35 billion across the United States, according to the company.

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