This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — South Texas economic leaders have signed an agreement with federal authorities that puts the region one step closer to having the deepest port on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Brownsville Navigation District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 6 signed a joint agreement to deepen the shipping channel from 42 feet to 52 feet, Brownsville officials announced.

This is Phase 2 of the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project that will increase goods that can come and go through the 17-mile-long shipping channel in South Texas.

“The completion of the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project will not only shape the course of our future but also the economic landscape of the Rio Grande Valley,” Brownsville Navigation District Chairman Esteban Guerra said in a statement. “Increasing the depth of the ship channel to 52 feet will allow us to receive larger vessels, heavier cargo and contribute to cost savings, setting in motion the next great evolution of the Port of Brownsville.”

Guerra said that as supply chain backlogs continue in the United States, deepening this South Texas channel that is just miles from Mexico’s border will help to bring more products that can be put on the U.S. market.

Wind-energy products and components could see a boost, officials said.

 “The Port of Brownsville is the only port in Texas, where deep draft vessels are being built. These deep draft vessels, which will now be able to access the port, are needed for the increased import of wind products,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District Cmdr. Col. Timothy Vail. 

In 2021, the port moved 4.3 million metric tons of steel and 6.3 million of fuels, reported.