A Seattle-based maritime contractor has chosen a Port of Brownsville tenant to build the largest hopper dredge in the United States.
Manson Construction Co. is one of the nation’s leading builders of marine infrastructure projects. Its contract with Keppel AmFELS has AmFELS building a 15,000-cubic yard hopper dredge. It will have a length of 420 feet and a breadth of 81 feet.
A dredge is a marine vessel – a ship – that is fitted with an excavation tool capable of scrapping off and removing sediment deposits. This helps ensure clearance for safer voyages through major waterways. They are also essential for maritime travel of all types. The sediments a dredge collects are also of use in the creation of new harbors and reclamation of areas oil spills and natural disasters damage.
For Manson, the project with AmFELS also represents the company’s single biggest investment in its 115-year history. It is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2023
“We are pleased to be partnering with Keppel AmFELS due to their impressive vessel construction capabilities,” said John Holmes, the Manson Construction president. “We are proud that it will be U.S. built, U.S. flagged, U.S. crewed and will support the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ mission of keeping the marine transportation highway open throughout the United States.”
A Boost For The Port’s Profile
AmFELS is a Port of Brownsville mainstay tenant and was established in 1990. It is among the best-equipped shipyards in the Gulf of Mexico. AmFELS has a long history of constructing, refurbishing and repairing a range of mobile drilling rigs, platforms and ships. The company services industries involved in renewable energy and transportation as well as oil and gas.
“This project will be supported by our highly skilled local workforce and suppliers across the U.S.,” said Mohamed Shahlan Bin Salleh, the president of Keppel AmFELS. “This is our first new-build project with Manson and we look forward to supporting them as they grow their fleet of vessels.”
The Manson project will provide a further boost for the Port of Brownsville. It will grow the value of imports and exports moving through the port and its Foreign Trade Zone. The port, according to its CEO Eduardo Campirano, saw a record-setting $8.9 billion in combined export/import value in 2019. He further expects more growth this year.
Campirano cited shipbuilding equipment such as the type utilized by AmFELS as a key component in this growth. AmFELS describes itself as “the foremost offshore shipyard in the Gulf of Mexico,” adding that it has placed “Brownsville on the map for world class offshore solutions.”
The company has long been an active corporate citizen in Brownsville. It has partnered with University of Texas System campuses in the area as well as the local United Way to improve literacy, employability and the general well-being of Brownsville and southern Cameron County.