About 250 people attended the Port of Brownsville’s annual State of the Port event to celebrate continued growth and look forward to opportunities that may be just around the corner. “2017 was indeed a banner year,” said Brownsville Navigation District Vice Chairman John Reed. “And 2018 could become a turning point for the port and for South Texas.”
Reed was the lead speaker at the Thursday luncheon in Brownsville. He took the place of BND Chairman John Wood, who was ill. Reed was joined at the podium by port commissioners Ralph Cowen, Sergio Tito Lopez and Carlos Masso.
Among the 2017 highlights touted by Reed were port revenues of almost $24 million, the highest in port history. He also noted that the Foreign Trade Zone at the port ranks second in the nation in exports. Numbers for 2016 were not released until late last year. They show that $2.8 billion in exports were shipped through the trade zone.
The port also increased the number of vessels from 1,091 in 2016 to 1,317 in 2017. “More vessels means more cargo and that means more jobs,” Reed said.
At the end of 2017, the navigation district signed final paperwork with Union Pacific Railroad that culminated a 44-year project to relocate outdated railroad switchyards from downtown Brownsville to areas closer to the port. Now rail customers of the port and Union Pacific partner with the Rio Grande International Railway to move tens of thousands of rail cars each year throughout the United States and into Mexico.