It’s taken years to get to this point, but a new cargo dock for the Port of Brownsville is about to become a reality now that a construction contract has been awarded.
The port’s board of commissioners on Aug. 7 awarded the contract to Shoreline Foundation Inc. of Pembroke, Fla. The board concluded that Shoreline’s bid of just under $21 million was the “lowest and best” bid submitted for the project, dubbed “Dock 16.”
The new, 600-foot dock will allow the port to substantially increase its cargo-handling capacity and ease delays for vessels, according to Eddie Campirano, port director and CEO.
It will be built as a general-purpose dock to handle steel, scrap and virtually every other type of heavy cargo, and will give the port more flexibility in handling cargo containers, he said.
Dock 16 will be the port’s second heavy-load capacity dock.
The cost of the project is estimated at $26.2 million, with the federal government contributing $12 million through a TIGER grant. TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, a Department of Transportation discretionary program created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The port was passed up for TIGER funds three years in a row after the government announced it was looking for “shovel ready” transportation projects to help stimulate the economy. Finally, on the fourth try, the port’s grant application was accepted. The government announced last summer that the port was among recipients of $500 million in TIGER grant money.
“We were very persistent in our TIGER grants,” Campirano said, noting that the quest to build a new dock goes back even farther than the first TIGER application.
“Building Dock 16 has been around for quite some time,” he said. “I know it was a discussion item even before I came to the port.”
The work is expected to start next month, with completion estimated for March 2015.
“It has been a long time coming,” Campirano said. “And the port doesn’t build a dock every year. I think Dock 15 and Dock No. 5 were the last ones built, and those are both already over 20 years old.
“It’s a significant event for us. You build these projects to be around for 50 years, so it’s going to be useful for the port for many years.”