Baytown-West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation | 1300 Rollingbrook Dr., Suite 610 | Baytown, TX 77521 | 281.420.2961 |

Ship channel receives ‘new start’ designation

January 26, 2021

The project to deepen and widen the Houston Ship Channel, an effort that has been in the works for more than seven years, got a major boost in the final hours of the Trump administration as the project was granted “new start” status, allowing work to begin on the multi-year project which is planned to increase capacity, safety and environmental sustainability.

Funding for the project was approved less than a month earlier in the Water Resources Development Act. While WRDA approved the project, the new start designation was necessary to start releasing funds.

The new start designation also releases $19.5 million in federal funds to begin work on the project, which has a total estimated cost of nearly $900 million. 

Of that cost, about $463 million is expected to be provided by the federal government and the remainder from local sources.

Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said, “We’re grateful for our bipartisan Congressional delegation and the many channel stakeholders who aggressively advocated to get this project authorized and funded.”

Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia said, “This new development is a huge win for the 1.1 million people in Precinct 2 in part because it will bring about more economic development.” Precinct 2 includes most of the Port Houston docks and most of Baytown.

The Houston Ship Channel is the nation’s busiest waterway and Port Houston is the nation’s biggest port in terms of total tonnage.

In addition to service as an import and export channel for the oil and petrochemical industries, it is the major Gulf Coast port for the U.S., with many of the products that cross its docks passing through the warehouse and distribution centers around Baytown and west Chambers County.

By Mark Fleming, Baytown Sun