Image Credit: Houston Chronicles

As exports at the Port of Houston surged by 14 percent in the first half of 2017, in comparison to the previous year, the port’s Bayport Terminal and Link Texas (TLT) have established a lease agreement to move forward with further expansion of a 25-acre empty container yard, set to be completed by July 2018. The development is currently underway by TLT, a distributer of empty containers, which will increase TLT’s overall stacking capacity by as much as 80 percent.

The new facility’s purpose is to not only provide more storage for empty containers, but to improve operational procedures associated with repair and maintenance of both containers and chassis.

As more space becomes available by the project’s completion, 14-acres currently used for TLT’s activities will be handed over to the terminal to expand their container-loading capabilities.

According to Jeff Davis, the Port of Houston’s Chief Operations Officer, along with the 25 acres of yard space under development by TLT, another 25 acres are currently being constructed by the Port of Houston. The terminal currently has 240 acres and more will be added through TLT and the port’s partnership.

Bayport’s improvements are being carried out in multiple phases, and reportedly, $500 million in investments.

Construction is currently being done on phase 3. The resulting work with contribute to a total of 7 berths and 22 Post-Panamax cranes, in an effort to appease projected growth in activity.

Bayport’s operating hours are expected to be extended, from the current 7 AM – 7 PM, to 7 AM – 11 PM. The changes are stated to take into effect on October 2nd with the in-gate closing at 10 PM. The terminal services 5,000 trucking transactions daily. An extension of hours will be a welcoming change for the congestion and expectations of steady growth.

Along with Bayport renovations, the Port of Houston’s second terminal, Barbours Cut, is in the process of undergoing renovations, with the addition of 3 new Super Post-Panamax cranes by the end of the year. They are specifically needed for handling increasingly larger container ships entering the Port of Houston.

The Port of Houston reported to American Shipper that the Wharf 3 project at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal will prepare the dock for larger ship loads, an upgraded crane rail gauge, and faster multi-lane container transfer productivity.

The Port is responsible for handling around two-thirds of all the containers moving through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The proactive move to expand operations in the wake of higher demand will hopefully prove to be beneficial for those dependent on the port’s services.