It's on us. Share your news here.

Port of Beaumont celebrates new dock

The Port of Beaumont's new dock was unveiled and celebrated with a ribbon cutting on May 2.

Posted on May 8, 2024

The Port of Beaumont is poised to grow in cargo capacity, shipping traffic and revenue with a new dock finally completed at Main Street 1 Terminal.

On Thursday, Port officials showcased what $85 million can buy in the shipping industry with an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting.

The terminal was closed in 2012 after port officials decided the dock had outlived its useful life, Port of Beaumont Director and CEO Chris Fisher said.

It took over a decade for the Port’s Board of Commissioners to see their plan to rebuild the dock come to reality.

“Funding an $85 million dock project is a very heavy lift,” Fisher said.

Efforts to raise the funds began in 2017 and got a serious boost in 2019 after securing a U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration build grant and an Economic Development Administration grant, in addition to general obligation funds and port revenue resources.

The board worked with Lanier and Associates to finalize the design of the new dock, then turned construction over to McCarthy Building Companies, which “turned a vision into reality,“ Fisher said.

They did so within the projected budget and ahead of the completion date.

It breaks down to 600 additional feet of berthing capacity, Board of Commissioners President Bill Darling said.

He underscored the role the Department of Defense’s Maritime Administration played in growing the port’s capacity and status within the shipping and strategic defense fields of operation.

“MARAD laid the groundwork to make our ports more competitive and better funded…which supports jobs and economic growth,” Darling said. Having been deemed a strategic military seaport since the 1990s and home to some of MARAD’s Ready Reserve Fleet, they’ve also committed to the port’s future infrastructure projects.

In concert with other ports, including Port Arthur, Orange and Sabine Pass, their investment makes the shared waterway one of the most strategically important in the nation, Darling said.

For the Port of Beaumont alone, 40% of the capital improvement plan is being funded by MARAD.

Lt. Col. Aubrey Ashford, commander of the 847nd Transportation Battalion, said the Department of Defense’s presence in the port of Beaumont dates back to 1952.

“This site is critical to our nation’s ability to move combat power anywhere in the world,” he said.

The Port served a key role in the deployment and redeployment of military cargo supporting operations, including Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve, which battled ISIS.

In the past 18 months, through its partnership with the ports of Beaumont and Port Arthur, TRANSCOM has moved 23,000 military cargo units, including 473 M1 Abrams tanks and nearly 900 military helicopters.

“Those numbers would not be possible without the great relationship between the ports of Beaumont and Port Arthur,” Ashford said. “It is terrific to see the new pier ready for use after an 11-year pause.”

Terminal 1 will berth three vessels that will enable the simultaneous movement of three military combat brigade teams.

It will mean moving one million tons of military cargo per year, Ashford said – an opportunity TRANSCOM will take advantage of moving forward.

Following the speakers and ribbon cutting, attendees at Thursday’s ceremony got a better view of the Terminal 1 dock amid a break in the day-long storms.

Members of the McCarthy Building Companies team took photos as a tug boat did donuts in the river basin, shooting jets of water onto the new dock in a kind of celebratory water fireworks show.

The event may well be a preview of coming attractions for the port of Beaumont, which is looking ahead to its next projects, including construction on an estimated $11 million new rail interchange, LNG and cargo projects, in addition to a future dock rebuild near the old grain silo.

For the first time, the port has funding from the State of Texas to support some of those projects, Fisher noted.

District 21 Representative Dade Phelan was behind the push to get those funds in Southeast Texas ports’ hands.

Addressing the crowd, Phelan started by refuting President Joe Biden’s moves to quash LNG projects.

He recently toured Sabine Lake, where several natural gas projects are underway and noted that, “LNG exports from Southeast Texas alone could supplant all of Russia’s natural gas exports to Europe alone.”

Shipping those materials overseas is where the ports play a critical role, and again, Phelan said, Southeast Texas is taking the helm.

“My freshman year (in the House of Representatives), it was an honor to work with our ports and Lamar University to establish a maritime program,” he said. It’s now one of three in the world and the only one in the U.S., and it’s sent other universities scrambling to mimic Lamar’s success.

“It’s an innovative program and the type of education pipeline we need to keep our ports staffed,” Phelan said.

It moves the ball forward on getting those Texas jobs into Texans’ hands, “and it’s all happening right here in Southeast Texas,” he said.

The Port of Beaumont’s new dock was unveiled May 2.

Members of McCarthy, who built the Port of Beaumont’s new dock, take photos during a celebration May 2.

The Port of Beaumont’s Chris Fisher speaks during a ceremony where its new dock was unveiled May 2.


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe