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The Brownsville Herald

The Port of Brownsville racked up another recordbreaking year in fiscal year 2015 in terms of both cargo tonnage and financial performance.

It was the latest in a string of banner years, according to Eduardo Campirano, port director and CEO, who termed 2015 “another best year we’ve ever had.”

The port handled 10.1 million tons of cargo for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31 compared to 8.4 million tons for fiscal year 2014, an increase that exceeded projections, Campirano said.

Waterborne cargo accounts for the vast majority of goods moving through the port, with about 1.5 million tons transported through nonwaterborne means — rail, truck, pipeline — for 2015, he said. Steel and liquid cargoes remain the two biggest commodities, Campirano said, steel throughput being driven by the rapidly growing auto manufacturing industry in Mexico. 

“We provide a lot of the raw material for the mills, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down this year,” he said. “We’ve had a good January, especially on the slab vessels — on the throughput of slab steel through the port.” Liquid commodities include gasoline, diesel and condensate. The port also handles aluminum, lumber, minerals and windmill components among its cargos. 2015 was also a big year for limestone, used for road construction and as a base for wind turbine towers, Campirano noted. “Limestone was going out the door as quickly as we were getting it,” he said. “The guys at Vulcan (Construction Materials) did over 700,000 metric tons of limestone. I’ve only seen one year better than that since I’ve been here.” 

Campirano said the port has recovered from the recession and then some, with solid gains year to year in maritime and financial performance. Given its financial stability, the port is moving forward on badly needed capital improvement projects, including construction of a new oil dock and upgrading an existing oil dock, he said. 

The port recently announced that it will issue $30 million in revenue bonds to pay for those and other projects, with the debt on the bonds to be serviced by a rate increase on port tenants, Campirano said. 

Port commission Chairman Ralph Cowen described 2015 as a “critically important milestone in the port’s growth.” 

“Not only does this performance recognize the strength of our customer base and the companies doing business here, but it provides the port with an opportunity to continue its mission of creating jobs and a stronger tax base,” he said. 

 

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