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Houston Ship Channel Starts Expansion

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The project to widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel has taken a major step forward with the formal presentation of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) between the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Port of Houston Authority for the channel’s billion-dollar expansion program, Project 11.

The PPA is the official document committing Port Houston to the responsibilities of the project as the local non-federal sponsor. It details the terms of the channel infrastructure expansion, and most significantly, permits the start of dredging the federal waterway. Project 11 is the 11th major improvement of the channel in its more than 100-year history.

“Our port serves as the anchor for our Texas region,” said Port Houston executive director Roger Guenther. “It is a critical step to provide a wider, deeper channel that maintains two-way vessel traffic to more safely and efficiently deliver everyday goods and petrochemical products to and from the region. This expansion project will help us continue to lead as the top port in the nation, supporting over 3.2 million US jobs – including more than 1.35 million Texas jobs – and bringing $802bn in economic value to the nation.”

The 52-mile-long Houston Ship Channel is a vital economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas, and the US. Last year, the USACE ranked it as the busiest port in the nation – the channel handles as much vessel traffic as the three largest US ports combined. Once widened and deepened, the waterway will continue to help support and benefit more than 200 private and public facilities alongside it.

Project 11’s first dredge contract is expected to be awarded as early as this October.

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