The Port of Corpus Christi is the South Texas region’s hub for international trade. It is the 3rd largest US Port by tonnage, moving an annual tonnage record of 167.3 million tons in 2021, a 4.7 percent increase from 2020. The port is comprised of 22,000 acres, employing 180 people locally, and affects 66,000 port-related jobs across the US and abroad.The completion of a major dredging and expansion project at the La Quinta Ship Channel in San Patricio County has increased opportunities for strategic business partnerships with companies from around the world, and will help diversify the county’s economy.
The newly-expanded La Quinta Ship Channel provides support to several foreign and domestic companies that have invested billions of dollars in the last five years to move into San Patricio County, taking advantage of some of the most business-friendly climates in the United States. These companies include voestalpine, from Austria, who is building a hot-briquette iron mill, a $740 million project; TPCO America, a Chinese steel pipe manufacturing plant, making investment of more than $1 billion, and Houston –based Cheniere Energy, who is planning a $13 billion liquid natural gas plant. In addition, Oxy, an existing company, is investing 1.3 billion in an LPG crude export facility.
In 2013 and 2014 Port Corpus Christi entered into memorandums of understanding with both The City of Pharr, Texas and Colombia’s Palmero Port Society, expanding international trade opportunities in Latin America, in a continued global cargo diversification effort.
Pharr’s proximity to Port Corpus Christi, Monterrey, and the new super-corridor from Mazatlan to Matamoros opens the door for cargo to and from the Far East. In addition, Pharr’s International Bridge is ideally situated to service Northern Mexico’s fracking opportunities. More than 940,000 commercial trucks cross the Pharr International Bridge annually. The bridge is the seventh busiest commercial truck crossing port in the United States. It is the second busiest in terms of agriculture.
Port Corpus Christi maintains a strong focus on partnerships with Asian markets. In April 2011, Port Corpus Christi and Tianjin Port Co., Ltd., signed a memorandum of understanding, promoting trade with companies in the eastern hemisphere.
Additional companies in San Patricio County conducting international business in the manufacturing, oil, gas, and chemical industries include Kiewit Offshore Services, Chemours, Enbridge, OxyChem, and Flint Hills Resources, Cheniere, Voestalpine, Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, Steel Dynamics, TPCO America and Buckeye Partners, LP.
San Patricio County’s major trading partners include: Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Indonesia, China, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
Full economic impact of the expansion of the La Quinta Channel and the Port’s focus on global cargo diversification is yet to be seen, but will surely have an historical impact on the region’s international trade relations. The Port of Corpus Christi, as well companies who are currently operating or invested in projects in San Patricio County, are planning for the demands and political environment of the future.