22 Aug Port of Houston Ready for Bigger Panama Canal
Port of Houston – A Top U.S. Port
The Port of Houston is a top United States port of entry for ocean shipping. The port handles containers full of consumer goods meant for U.S. consumption and petrochemical based raw plastic headed back to the Far East to be made into consumer products.
The Port of Houston is a major reason Texas’ economic engine when it comes to import and export activities.
New Panama Canal Expansion Opens – 2016
In the early summer of 2016, the much-anticipated opening of the new expanded Panama Canal began accepting ship traffic. The old Panama Canal could only handle ships up to 106 feet wide and 965 feet long. When it was finished in the early 1900s, nearly all ships could pass through the three sets of locks.
Today’s ships are considerably wider and longer than the old canal design and consequently have to take a 10-day detour around the tip of South America if they are moving back and forth between the US and the Far East.
The newly expanded Panama Canal can handle larger ships (called Post-Panamax) up to 160 feet wide and 1,200 feet long, nearly all merchant ships that are operating today.
West Coast Ports Will Loose Ship Traffic
Before the expansion of the canal, many container ships used Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to unload their containers bound for the Central and East Coasts. The offloaded containers moved by rail to Houston where they offloaded to trucks for their trips to final destinations.
The least expensive way to move goods to and from the Far East is through the newly widened and deepened Panama Canal, so Ports like Long Beach and Los Angeles will likely lose ship traffic and
The Port of Houston will gain ship traffic because it will be faster and cheaper than the current method. The Port of Houston expects to see significant increases in its traffic beginning in 2017.
The Port of Houston Upgrades
To get ready for the growth in ship traffic, the Port of Houston has spent over $700 million to deepen some of its channels, install additional container handling equipment, and other improvements to speed the unloading and loading of container ships.
The Port of Houston plans to spend a total of $1 billion in infrastructure improvements to handle the much larger ships it expects to receive as a result of the Panama Canal expansion.
The Port of Houston Feeds Texas Small and Middle Market Businesses
The Port of Houston is the #1 port in the U.S. for incoming and outgoing tonnage. The money generated in outgoing exports brings enormous benefits to Texas small and middle-market businesses.
- Over $250 billion exported from Texas in 2015
- Since 2011, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $23 billion in exports from 1287 companies in 148 communities in Texas.
- Texas gross state product for 2015 was over $1.6 trillion. Much of it was exported by ship through the Port of Houston.
Small and middle-market businesses benefit greatly from The Port of Houston’s activity, both directly and indirectly.
If you are a company that is growing because of, or in anticipation of the increase in ship traffic in The Port of Houston, call us at 512.990.8756. We can help you finance your growth.