The Panama Canal is being widened and deepened, and once that work is complete, there is a real possibility that our Texas ports could become even busier.
That's why the State has set up a Panama Canal Stakeholder work group of which John LaRue, executive director of the Port of Corpus Christi, is a member.
The group has already met in Austin back on June 29. LaRue is one of 15 members on the panel, a panel which he said will help the State figure out how it can speed up the movement of trade in and out of our port areas.
By the end of 2014, the Panama Canal will more than double its capacity after a huge expansion project is completed. Once that happens, more ships are expected to make their way through the Canal and head up to Texas ports.
Texas and other Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard states are trying to get prepared. They are doing that by spending billions of dollars on new roads and railways to handle all of the new business.
"I think if you ask all the ports in Texas, they'd say we need more of those inter-connectivity points where ports meet interstate highways, and the rail systems meet class one, the big railroads that are running operations throughout the western U.S.," LaRue said.
LaRue believes the changes are going to help the port handle more grain shipments to Asia. The port is working with the federal government to widen and deepen our port. It's a $370 million project that would take the port from a depth of 45-feet to 52-feet, which would allow for super-sized ships that use the Panama Canal to come here.
No one is exactly sure how the new Panama Canal will change trade, but officials are bracing for a huge expansion.
The TxDOT work group that LaRue is now part of will be in Corpus Christi on August 1. That meeting will be open to the public, and will take place at the Ortiz Center.
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