Port grain operations facility wins $14.5 million grant

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Port of Brownsville a $14.5 million grant through the agency’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development program to upgrade the port’s grain storage and loading facilities.

The money will go in part toward the development, expansion and upgrade of the port’s 3 million-bushel grain elevator, operated by WestPlains LLC. WestPlains and the port in 2016 signed an agreement for WestPlains to modernize and enhance the operational efficiency of the associated specialized bulk dock, with the port investing $5 million in the project.

WestPlains has already made “significant investments” in phase one of elevator/dock improvements, according to the port.

Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed said the DOT grant “demonstrates the federal government’s confidence in the (port) and its commitment to support all industries across the Rio Grande Valley.”

“We are thankful for all the support received from Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Filemon Vela, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, our Texas state delegation, as well as Cameron County leadership and other local public officials and businesses,” he said. “Their efforts were instrumental in accomplishing our goal to provide local farmers a direct access to worldwide markets.”