Port of Brownsville set a record Jan. 31 when it received the M/V Nordic Pollux, the longest and widest cargo vessel to call on the port to date. The oil tanker made its way from Philadelphia to Brownsville, where it loaded approximately 150,000 barrels of heavy naphtha.
Moving the ship into port took an experienced harbor pilot and three Signet Maritime tugboats. The team worked together to precisely maneuver the vessel into place at the port’s Liquid Cargo Dock 5. The Brazos Santiago Pilots safely navigated the ship along the port’s 17-mile-long channel. The tanker was then rotated in the channel turning basin with help from all three tugs.
Big changes to the shipping industry
The growing trend of larger ships in the international maritime fleet is influencing changes in shipping industry infrastructure, like the recent expansion of the Panama Canal and enhanced port infrastructure around the world – including improvements at the Port of Brownsville. The port is building bigger and deeper berths and plans to deepen its ship channel to 52 feet from its current design depth of 42 feet. This will make the Port of Brownsville among the deepest ports in the Gulf of Mexico upon completion.
Completion of the port’s channel deepening project allows it to accommodate deeper draft cargo ships. Bigger ships not only mean more cargo, but also more jobs to move cargo on and off the giant vessels.
The Port of Brownsville’s channel deepening project received Congressional authorization in late-2016 and it is currently in the permitting stage.