Vol. 5, No. 11, April 2021
Success for Our Communities in the Face of a Challenging Year

By Sergio Tito Lopez
Chairman, Brownsville Navigation District

2020 proved to be an extremely difficult year for many people.

Last year we saw the rise of a global pandemic that devastated economies and tossed everyday lives into turmoil. Simple tasks like going to school, going out with friends, going to a doctor’s appointment, or just going to the store became increasingly difficult, if not sometimes impossible. On behalf of the entire Commission and staff of the Port of Brownsville, we continue to extend our hearts, prayers, and a helping hand to our community and those still reeling from the pandemic’s long reach.

Throughout 2020, however, the port never lost sight of our responsibility in serving as a global gateway for commerce and a critically important economic engine and job creator for our community. Port staff promptly made a range of changes to adapt to the pandemic while we continued to invest heavily in new infrastructure and equipment for future growth. In 2020 we added two new state-of-the-art – and environmentally compliant – mobile harbor cranes to expand our cargo-handling capabilities.

We began construction of the South Port Connector Road, a major project aimed at improving urban traffic and access to the port, and completed new roadway and truck staging-area projects to better manage traffic flow. We opened a new Liquid Cargo Dock 6 for improved petroleum loading and unloading as our fuel storage capacity now exceeds 6.8 million barrels, solidifying Brownsville’s role as a major hub for the global movement of energy products. We opened our renovated Bulk Cargo Dock and received $14.5 million in grants improving railroad, road and ship-loading infrastructure to expand our grain operations, just as WestPlains, LLC began exports of Rio Grande Valley farmers’ sorghum to China. These improvements create new international market opportunities for South Texas farming families.
Moody’s Assigns Stable Outlook to Port of Brownsville
Moody’s Investor Services assigned a stable outlook to the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) and reaffirmed a high “A2” credit rating on its revenue bonds.

The stable outlook reflects Moody’s view that “the port will maintain ample liquidity supported by strong operating cash flow margins.”

Moody’s noted the Port of Brownsville’s “competitive position for cross border trade as well as the upside potential of near-term projects at the port and major private sector investments” in maintaining the $32 million bonds’ high A2 score, which it defines as among average for “upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.”
Campirano Featured
in Economic Forecast and Market Panel
Port Director and CEO Eduardo A. Campirano was a featured panelists at the 2021 Rio Grande Valley Economic Forecast & Market Incentives virtual event co-hosted by the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation and REDnews on March 25.

Economic development and industry leaders from the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo convened to discuss current developments and investment opportunities found in South Texas. Campirano provided an update on the upcoming projects at the Port of Brownsville.

Watch the 2021 Rio Grande Valley Economic Forecast & Market Incentives virtual event video below.
Celebrating the Workforce of Western Hemisphere Seaports
The Port of Brownsville, in partnership with the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), commemorates Western Hemisphere Ports Day on April 5 again this year.

The annual event recognizes the port industry’s role in efficient goods movement, job creation and propelling the economy in nations they serve across the Americas.

This year’s Ports Day theme, Celebrating Our Workforce, honors the skill, professionalism, and commitment of the port industry workforce – thousands of people who ensure that cargo and passengers move efficiently through our ports every day.

During these uncertain times, the maritime industry and its workforce has sustained the movement of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods to our communities.

Throughout the global pandemic ports all over the Western Hemisphere, never stopped operating. Port workers are essential workers, and throughout the pandemic they have shown dedication to, ensuring the delivery of vital goods to grocery stores, businesses, and medical care facilities at major personal risk.

According to IHS Markit's GTA Forecasting, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere seaports in 2018 totaled nearly 4.2 billion metric tons in volume and $3.7 trillion in value. Of that combined total, seaports in Central and South America handled 1.86 billion metric tons of cargo valued at $1.17 trillion, while North American seaports handled 2.34 billion metric tons of goods, valued at $2.53 trillion.

Within North America, U.S. seaports handled 1.01 billion metric tons of international trade valued at $1.95 trillion, while Canada’s seaports handled 380.53 million metric tons of goods valued at $266.67 billion, and Mexico’s seaports handled 352.53 million metric tons of cargo valued at $312.91 billion.
Pictured from left to right: BND Vice Chairman Ralph Cowen; BND Chairman Sergio Tito Lopez; Deputy Port Director Donna Eymard; BND Secretary of the Board Esteban Guerra; BND Commissioner John Wood; BND Commissioner John Reed; and Port Director and CEO Eduardo A. Campirano.
Deputy Port Director Donna Eymard Retires
The Port of Brownsville held a retirement celebration honoring Deputy Port Director Donna Eymard on April 1, 2021. Eymard announced her retirement, effective April 1, after 21 years of service with the Port of Brownsville.

"The port is an exciting place to work. I am so proud of how it has grown and diversified," said Eymard. "I will miss the staff and tenants. They have been a pleasure to work with over the years. I am excited to see continued progress on the horizon for the Port of Brownsville."

Eymard joined the port in 2000, after a successful career in the banking industry, working her way to become vice president of the International Bank of Commerce (IBC), the largest minority-owned bank in Texas and the third largest in the United States. During her time with IBC, she held positions in marketing, commercial, consumer and real estate lending, operations, construction of new branches, branch management, event planning and training. She retired from banking in December 1999.

As the deputy port director, she oversaw the finance, human resources, IT and administrative services departments and served as interim port director several times during her tenure.

"It has been an honor to work with Donna and she will be missed immensely," said Port Director and CEO Eduardo A. Campirano. "She has left a mark on the hearts of all who work with her and as we look to the future, we will think of her contributions to help get us here."

The retirement celebration was attended by Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., the Brownsville Navigation District Board of Commissioners, port staff, as well as Eymard’s family members and close friends. Senator Lucio, Jr. presented a proclamation, state flag and gavel to Eymard in recognition of her dedication to the port and the local community. 

"I have worked with Donna at the local and federal level," said Senator Lucio, Jr. "I respect her and the work she has done at the Port of Brownsville. I congratulate her on her retirement."

"On behalf of the commission, we thank you for everything you've done for the Port of Brownsville," said Brownsville navigation District Chairman Sergio Tito Lopez. "I've known Donna for many years, we will miss her and wish her the very best."

Eymard earned her Certified Public Manager designation in 2012 from the University of Texas at Brownsville – now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – and also completed Leadership Texas, Leadership Rio Grande Valley and Leadership Brownsville programs.

She is a member of the Texas Ports Association, Gulf Ports of Americas and the American Association of Port Authorities. In 2004, she was named one of the Top 10 Leading Women in Gulf Transportation by Gulf Shipper magazine.

Among her philanthropic efforts, Eymard is a founding member of South Padre Island Walk for Women, a nonprofit organization initiated by local women to heighten awareness, provide support and raise money for area women and men diagnosed with breast cancer. She currently serves as Vice Chairwoman of the Board of AMIkids Rio Grande Valley and has held past board positions in the American Heart Association, United Way and Friends of Animal Rescue-South Padre Island.
A Port of Brownsville staff member receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the workplace clinic on March 25 at the Port of Brownsville administrative office.
Port Partners with County to Host Vaccine Clinic
The Port of Brownsville, in partnership with the Cameron County Public Health Department, held a workplace COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Port of Brownsville Administrative office on March 30, 2021.

More than 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine were distributed to port employees and their immediate family members. The Port will partner with the county to deliver the second dose of the vaccine at a later date.

Port employees are essential and critical workers for the Rio Grande Valley, the state of Texas and our nation. Since the start of the pandemic, the port has never lost sight of its responsibility in serving as a global gateway for commerce and a critically important economic engine and job creator for the RGV.

The Port of Brownsville encourages the community to continue to take precautions to limit the spread COVID-19 by wearing facial masks, social distancing and practicing good hygiene.


Vice Chairman




Port Director & CEO

Contact Us:
Ph: 956.831.4592 / 800.378.5395
Fax: 956.831.5006
April 5
Ports Day 2021

April 7
BND Board Meeting
April 21
BND Board Meeting
May 5
BND Board Meeting
Cinco De Mayo
May 9
Mother's Day
May 10
Mother's Day (Mexico)
May 19
BND Board Meeting
May 31
Memorial Day Port Offices Closed
NextDecade Plans CO2 Transportation and Storage in South Texas
NextDecade Corporation, a clean energy company accelerating the path to a net-zero future, and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV), a subsidiary of Occidental and global leader in carbon dioxide (CO2) management, announced March 25, that they have executed a term sheet for the offtake and permanent geologic storage of CO2 captured from NextDecade’s planned Rio Grande LNG project at the Port of Brownsville.
In March, NextDecade announced the formation of NEXT Carbon Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary that is expected to – among other things – develop one of the largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in North America at Rio Grande LNG. NEXT Carbon Solutions’ CCS project at Rio Grande LNG is expected to enable the capture and permanent geologic storage of more than five million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Under the terms of the agreement, OLCV will offtake and transport CO2 from the Rio Grande LNG project and permanently sequester it in an underground geologic formation in the Rio Grande Valley, where there is vast CO2 storage capacity, pursuant to a CO2 Offtake Agreement and a Sequestration and Monitoring Agreement to be negotiated by the parties.
"We are pleased to be working with OLCV to design, construct, and operate a CO2 pipeline and permanent storage facility in South Texas," said Matt Schatzman, NextDecade’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "OLCV’s expertise and reliability complement the transformative and impactful contributions our NEXT Carbon Solutions business is making to the global energy industry, and in particular the proprietary processes we are advancing to lower the cost of utilizing CCS technology."
To realize the significant benefits associated with the co-development of Rio Grande LNG and the CCS project, NextDecade anticipates achieving final investment decision (FID) on a minimum of two trains at Rio Grande LNG in 2021 and FID on NEXT Carbon Solutions’ CCS project soon after FID at Rio Grande LNG.
Steel Industry
Hails $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
Editor’s Note: This article is originally featured at www.nwitimes.com.

The steel industry is hailing a long-discussed and long-awaited infrastructure plan that would pump $2 trillion into the nation's roads, bridges, railways and ports.

United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway said the plan — expected to drive up demand for steel — is ambitious and far-reaching.

"A large-scale investment is certainly long overdue, but more importantly President Biden has made it clear that he, like our union, takes an expansive view of infrastructure," Conway said. "This is one that, in addition to repairing our crumbling roads, bridges, waterways and other transportation networks, also ensures that we have state-of-the-art schools, reliable communication systems, robust public health and much more."
Starlink Could Connect the Seas
Editor’s Note: This article was originally featured at www.Seatrade-Maritime.com.
In a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), SpaceX director of satellite policy, David Goldman, sought approval to take its existing Starlink satellite internet service on the move, with connections on vehicles, vessel and aircraft.

SpaceX already has approval to launch and operate a 4,400-strong constellation of satellites to provide broadband internet services; its sister company has the FCC’s approval to operate up to a million earth stations which allow end-users to connect to the satellite network and access the internet. For now the approval only covers fixed stations.
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