Vela announces $14.5M DOT grant for Port of Brownsville

The M/V Tian Fu takes on 34,000 metric tons of Rio Grande Valley sorghum at the Port of Brownsville for export to China. It's the first time in 13 years grain commodities have crossed the maritime dock at the port. COURTESY PHOTO

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $14,504,850 to the Port of Brownsville through a Port Infrastructure Development Grant. The awarded funds will support the expansion and upgrade of a grain and bulk handling facility and ship-loading capacity.

In 2016, WestPlains LLC refurbished the grain elevator at the Port of Brownsville, where it stores millions of bushels of grain. This project will consist of fixed landside, rail and road improvements, as well as related planning and other development activities.  Once completed, the project will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of goods. With these upgrades, the port can once again be a major exporter of agriculture commodities worldwide.

“This grant demonstrates the federal government’s confidence in the Port of Brownsville and its role as the economic engine for the Rio Grande Valley,” said Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed. “We are thankful for Congressman Vela’s guidance and support. His efforts were instrumental in accomplishing our goal to provide Texas farmers a direct access to worldwide markets.”

Texas Sorghum Producers Executive Director Wayne Cleveland called the grant a game changer for sorghum growers not only in Texas but for the rest of the states as you very seldomly get the opportunity to increase capacity for infrastructure.

“WestPlains is very excited and grateful for receiving the port infrastructure grant from MARAD,” said Amit Bhandari, Chairman & CEO of WestPlains. “We have a lot of demand from our customers to export sorghum, wheat, animal feed ingredients, and other commodities.”


Going up: Port elevator resumes grain shipments