Vol. 1, No. 7, June 2017
The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Independence is towed through the Brownsville Ship Channel June 1, on her way to International Shipbreaking Ltd's yard at the Port of Brownsville.
USS Independence Arrives at its Last Port of Call

The USS Independence completed its final voyage of 16,000 miles after arriving at the Port of Brownsville Thursday, June 1. However, the decommissioned aircraft carrier’s service is far from over as some of its steel will be used in the construction of new Navy vessels.

International Shipbreaking Ltd. won the Navy bid to recycle the 60,000-ton vessel, the last of the Forrestal-class of “supercarriers”. This will be the third vessel of its kind to be recycled by the company, which is part of the EMR Group.

Photo courtesy of Pasha Hawaii

Rendering of Pasha Hawaii's vessels to be built by Keppel AmFELS. Delivery of the first vessel is expected in the first quarter of 2020, while the second vessel will be delivered in the third quarter of the same year. 

Keppel AmFELS to Build LNG Fueled Containerships

Honolulu-based Pasha Hawaii selected Keppel AmFELS for the construction of two new LNG fueled containerships, with an option to order two additional vessels.

Delivery of the first vessel is expected in the first quarter of 2020, while the second vessel will be delivered in the third quarter of the same year. Pasha Hawaii is in the process of finalizing contract specifications.

"Keppel’s technical expertise in LNG propulsion and commitment to customer service were two very important factors in our selection decision," said George Pasha IV, president and CEO of Pasha Hawaii, a global logistics and transportation company.

A West Plains employee opens a hatch from a rail car to release corn at the Port of Brownsville grain elevator. West Plains received its first grain shipment of the season April 25, 2017.

West Plains Receives First Unit Train of Grain at Port of Brownsville

West Plains LLC received its first grain of the season April 25th at the Port of Brownsville with the arrival of 109 rail cars of corn from Nebraska.

West Plains entered into an agreement with the port in 2016 to restore and operate the grain elevator, with capacity to store three million bushels of grain. Since restoration efforts began, West Plains has invested more than $5.5 million in preparation of the shipment, the first at the port in more than seven years. Eventually, West Plains expects to receive 220 rail cars monthly.

The initial shipment of 109 rail cars is equivalent to 440 semi-truck loads. The corn will be stored for less than 30 days before being trucked to feed lots north of the Rio Grande Valley and parts of the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

Acciona wind towers, nacelles, blades and cones destined for the San Roman Wind Farm were delivered and stored at the Port of Brownsville. 

Port of Brownsville Supports Local Renewable Energy Project

T he Port of Brownsville played an important logistical role in Acciona Energy’s continued expansion in the U.S.

The company, a global operator in renewable energies, inaugurated the San Roman Wind Farm in Los Fresnos in April and utilized the port to deliver and store 42 complete windmill towers, consisting of 378 components destined for the project.

Port of Brownsville Officer Jose Luis Ramirez, center, received the Brownsville Fire Department's first-ever Lifesaving Award for his heroic efforts in saving the life of a Brownsville resident who was hit by a car on Sept. 14, 2016.
Port of Brownsville Police Officer Honored for Saving Man's Life

Port of Brownsville Officer Jose Luis Ramirez has been honored with the first Fire Chief Life Saving Award for saving a man who was helping his daughter deal with mechanical issues with her vehicle.

The man was struck by another vehicle and Ramirez administered medical attention to him, saving the man’s life, officials said.

"This is the first Life Saving Award that the Brownsville Fire Department has ever bestowed on an officer or a citizen of the City of Brownsville,” Brownsville Fire Chief Carlos Elizondo said. “The reason why we honored Officer Ramirez is because of the skills that he put in place of September in 2016 to a total stranger. He was able to use a tourniquet that he was trained to use and placed it accordingly to that individual that ended up saving his life in front of his daughter, who was present at the time.”

Photo Courtesy of Big River Steel 

The Big River Steel mill in Osceola, Ark., is similar to the facility Big River might build at the Port of Brownsville. The steel mill would produce 1.6 million tons of steel a year and require feedstock of about 2 million tons a year.

LEED-Certified Facility at Port Would Supply Auto Industry

The Port of Brownsville is closer than it’s ever been to finally landing a steel mill, something it’s been pursuing for decades. Brownsville is one of two finalists for a $1.5 billion, advanced flex steel mill identical to Big River Steel’s new plant in Osceola, Ark., the world’s first LEED-certified facility of its kind.

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is the world’s most widely used green-building rating system. Big River is expected to decide within a few months whether to build a new mill in Brownsville or expand its Arkansas operation.

The new project has been dubbed “Project America.” Port officials say it would directly support 500 new full-time jobs with a minimum annual salary of $75,000. The mill primarily would supply the automotive and vehicle component industries in Texas and Mexico.

SteelCoast Completes Acquisition of Esco's Former Assets 

More than two years after shutting down operations, the former Esco Marine Inc. ship recycling yard will restart operations under new ownership and a new name: SteelCoast.

The new company is a joint venture of Hilco Redevelopments Partners, a unit of Hilco Global, and MCM Marine Services, an affiliate of MCM Management Corp.

Gary Epstein, Hilco Global’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said the purchase of assets from the previous owner was completed and that operations would restart immediately. Kris Wood, Esco’s former vice president of administration, was tapped as SteelCoast CEO.


John Wood





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June 1
Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

June 7
BND Board Meeting

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2017 International Trade Symposium - Brownsville

June 14
Flag Day

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Father's Day

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Juneteenth Day

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First Day of Summer

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BND Board Meeting

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Independence Day- Port offices closed July 3-4

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2017 Union Pacific Short Line Railroad & Port Conference - Omaha

August 4
National U.S. Coast Guard Day
Captain Christopher R. Urbanovsky became the newest commissioned state pilot for the Brazos Santiago Pilots Association on May 3.
Port of Brownsville welcomes New Branch Pilot Captain

The Port of Brownsville welcomed a new Branch Pilot Captain for the Brownsville Navigation District during its Pilot Board meeting May 3.

Captain Christopher R. Urbanovsky became the newest commissioned state pilot for the Brazos Santiago Pilots Association after having completed one year of training. Captain Grant Wilson, senior pilot and presiding officer for the Brazos Santiago Pilots Association, recommended to the BND board that Captain Urbanovsky be commissioned as branch pilot. The board approved the recommendation and the motion passed unanimously.

The Brazos Santiago pilots are responsible for ensuring the safe transit of ships and vessels through the Brownsville Ship Channel.

Port of Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia, left, administers the oath of office to officer Israel Martinez III during the BND regular board meeting April 19.
New Officer Joins Port Police Department

The Port of Brownsville added a new officer to its police force during the Brownsville Navigation District Commissioners regular board meeting held April 19.

Officer Israel Martinez III, from Brownsville, received his peace officer certification after graduating from the Texas Southmost College Criminal Justice Institute in 2017. Martinez, 33, worked as a security guard for the Port of Brownsville prior to receiving his certification. He also served as a reserve deputy constable for Cameron County in Precinct 2.

NextDecade Selects GE Oil & Gas for LNG Plant

NextDecade, LLC has named GE Oil & Gas as the exclusive supplier of gas turbine and compressor equipment for the liquefaction trains of its Rio Grande LNG project and the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline proposed at the Port of Brownsville.

The gas turbine and compressor equipment supplied to NextDecade will come with long-term services, maintenance agreements, and GE performance guarantees. In addition to technology and services, GE Oil & Gas is providing NextDecade with a common equity investment, and is granted the right to invest up to a specified amount in project-level equity and debt financing for Rio Grande LNG at the time of final investment decision (FID).

Rio Grande LNG is the largest of three proposed LNG export facilities at the port. The project is planned for a 984-acre industrial site, and the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline are in the midst of the extensive Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting process.

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