Tropical Storm Harvey aftermath impacts Texas ports

by Susan Reidy
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Houston
The Port of Houston is ranked fourth in waterborne movement of agricultural trade.
 
HOUSTON — The Port of Houston remains closed as the area reels from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the area with high winds, rain and flooding over the weekend.

The port, which is a 25-mile-long complex of 150-plus private and public industrial terminals along the 52-mile-long Houston Ship Channel, has been closed since noon Friday, Aug. 25, in anticipation of the hurricane making land fall.

An alert notice on its website said all Port Houston facilities will remain closed on Aug. 29 and that port officials are monitoring the developing weather conditions to determine whether operations can safely resume on Aug. 30.

Hurricane
Hurricane Harvey has brought over 25 inches of rain to portions of southeast Texas since Thursday night.
 
Harvey has brought more than 25 inches of rain to portions of southeast Texas since Thursday night, the National Weather Service said. Another 10 to 20 inches is expected over parts of the upper Texas coast into southwestern Louisiana. Storm totals in some locations may approach 50 inches.

Meat accounted for 3 percent, or 164,073 metric tons, of US waterborne agricultural exports through Houston in 2015, while poultry accounted for 2 percent, or 129,950 metric tons, according to data from the Port Import Export Reporting Service (PIERS).

In 2015, the Port of Houston was ranked fifth in the US for total waterborne agricultural exports and 11th for containerized exports, according to the US Dept. of Agriculture. More than 97 percent of total US waterborne exports of tallow, animal and grease moved through the Port of Houston in 2015. The top commodities shipped that year included bulk grains, candy, confections, and grain products.

The Ports of Galveston and Corpus Christi, Texas, ship mostly bulk grains, grain products and oilseeds. A notice on the website for the Port of Galveston said the Galveston ship channel will remain closed for the next 48 hours.

The Port of Corpus Christi remained closed after an oil drilling ship broke free of its moorings on Saturday and sank one of the tugboats that was supposed to hold it in place. The ship will need to be removed and a survey completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers before the port can reopen.

Initial assessments of the port itself showed light to moderate damage and debris. Port officials hope to be back at normal operation levels by Sept. 4.

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