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Port of Corpus Christi reports downturn in demand for refined fuel

Before the crisis began, our Port ranked as the third largest in the country in terms of tonnage; but that tonnage mainly involved refined fuels.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Along with many local businesses having to adjust because of the coronavirus, the Port of Corpus Christi is also seeing some significant changes.

Before the crisis began, our Port ranked as the third largest in the country in terms of tonnage; but that tonnage mainly involved refined fuels. Port CEO Sean Strawbridge now says they are seeing a decline in the demand for refined products like transportation fuels as far fewer people are travelling these days and the airlines and cruise ships are cutting way back.

"As we're seeing global demand decline in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will see less exports. Question is how long will we be in this downturn?" Strawbridge said. "It was a significant downturn that happened very quick so it wouldn't surprise me if we saw a significant recovery in a very short period of time as well."

That of course would be great news, if things happened that way. Strawbridge said his team is also taking all the steps necessary to help keep the virus from spreading.

"Mariners from high-risk areas do not leave the ship," Strawbridge said. "Any illnesses of sea fares has to be reported by law to the United States Coast Guard. They will quarantine those vessels and crew members. The Port has instituted a no travel policy. We have banned all travel for Port employees."

Travel, particularly international travel, is one of the tools Port executives use routinely to generate more business. Strawbridge said for now their top priority is to do what they can to ensure that Port employees, customers and stakeholders are all protected from the spread of the virus.

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