As the nation’s largest tonnage and one of the busiest ports, there has always been a need to make improvements and keep logistics efficient. Being open for business more than 100 years also comes with trouble spots along the way. However, Port Houston is focused on making infrastructure improvements before any serious problems come under fire. In particular, the area of freight mobility has grown tremendously over the years and this is largely due to the Port Houston teams that make these projects possible.
Meaning of Freight Mobility
What is Freight Mobility you ask? In short, freight mobility is a broad term that refers to cargo vehicles – trains, trucks or airplanes - traveling to different destinations around the world transporting various goods. Most organizations in the logistics or supply chain sector rely on the Port’s freight mobility group to monitor how efficiently cargo is moving and see where infrastructure improvements need to be made. Port Houston relies heavily on the freight mobility department to advocate for and facilitate the investment in the freight network around the Houston region.
Freight Mobility Projects at Port Houston
Everyone knows that large projects require a lot of teamwork, collaboration as well as time management and freight mobility is no exception. For the port, there are multiple cross-functioning departments -- including Construction, Operations, Legal, Grants, Real Estate, and more -- that contribute to make key enhancements around our terminals and drive growth. No projects can happen without our cross-functional teams at the port and the partnerships we build with outside entities. Some of closest partnerships have been with Harris County, the regions railroads, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and local Houston associations. Keeping these relationships open has allowed the port to get many freight mobility projects completed and in turn help the local communities.
In 2019, the port received a 50-50 grant shared with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and the Port Terminal Railroad Association (PTRA) to help complete the port’s Broadway Double Track project. This project added a second railroad track near Turning Basin Terminal and Broadway street (inside Loop610), substantially completing double tracking of the PTRA which will improve cargo rail mobility to/from the port. This $23 million investment not only increased efficiency of freight movement but reduced emissions and improved safety.
In 2020 freight mobility improvements have continued across various areas of Port Houston. TxDOT has been a big contributor to the Port Road Expansion project and Barbours Cut Blvd/SH-146 Intersection project. More details about these specific projects can be found here: https://blog.porthouston.com/road-widening-projects.
Additional developments are being made around Port Houston’s Jacintoport terminal, including the Peninsula Road Improvement project and Sheldon Road Expansion project. The Peninsula Road Improvement project has been mostly completed, with enhancements being made to roads and rail crossings improving overall cargo mobility, safety and air quality. Peninsula Road itself will by widened from 2 to 4 lanes allowing trucks to easily get in/out of Jacintoport. This was one of the most congested and dangerous areas within the port region and the $12+ million project, with80% funded by Rider 48 funds from the Texas Legislature, has made it one of the safest and most efficient regions of the port.
The Sheldon Road Expansion project also is vital to improved efficiency around Jacintoport terminal. The first phase of this project includes widening the road from 2 to 4 lanes for easier truck accessibility. The port was awarded $1.2 million with a 50-50 cost share with Rider 38 funds from TX Legislature and Harris County. Additional phases will include more improvements to Sheldon Road with around $18 million in further enhancements.
As Port Houston continues to grow, freight mobility will persist as a vitally important piece for enhancing efficiency with port roadways and railways. Port Houston teams are tireless working to keep up with the growth and maintain outstanding relationships with our stakeholders and communities.