FREEPORT — About two years after its groundbreaking, Port Freeport celebrated the completion of Phase 1 construction of the Parcel 14 Rail Development project and its future economic impact with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Project officials, commissioners, staff and guests gathered Friday at Texas Port Ministry, where the 21,000 linear feet of rail track crosses behind the building. Union Pacific put two engines on the track for the occasion and Port Freeport CEO Phyllis Saathoff said she looks forward to that being a regular sight.

Parcel 14 is a 250-acre site adjacent to Highway 36 between FM 1495 and the Brazos River Diversion Canal, according to a news release. Phase 2 of the project will add another 24,000 feet of main tracks parallel to the already-constructed 21,000 feet, a news release states.

Eventually, the site across Highway 36 will be developed into a multimodal industrial park complete with new warehousing facilities for plastic resins packaging, cross-docking activities and distribution centers, according to the release.

James Construction is handling the $21-million Parcel 14 Rail Development Project. The completed tracks include 6,000-foot lead track spurring from the Union Pacific main line at Cherry Street, which crosses Highway 36 and then connects to three ladder tracks of approximately 5,000 feet each, the news release states.

A recent Texas A&M Transportation Institute economic analysis determined Port Freeport and the Freeport Harbor Channel generate more than $98 billion in total economic impact in the state, Port Commission Chairman Shane Pirtle said at Friday’s ceremony.

Projects like the Parcel 14 continue to add economic growth and prosperity to Texas, he said.

“It’s necessary for us to have the right waterside and landside infrastructure to maintain efficient supply chain for the region and for the nation,” Saathoff said.

There are several initiatives to do this, including the multimodal industrial park, the deepening of the Freeport Harbor Channel to 51 to 56 feet and expanding the Velasco Container Terminal, she said.

These projects make it possible for Port Freeport to support vessel calls from the largest container carriers around the globe and some of the largest produce companies, Saathoff said.

The completion of Phase 1 of the Parcel 14 project is an important milestone, she said, adding that she hopes everyone understands “how remarkable” that day was.

“It enhances the port’s landside capabilities and supply chain efficiencies to support the continued economic expansion in the region,” Saathoff said.

Several companies and engineers worked together to make sure this project was carefully and expertly designed and built, she said. This supports first-class service to current and future port customers, she said.

“The port and the Freeport Harbor Channel will surely continue to create jobs and further increase economic impacts to this community, to the state and to the nation,” Saathoff said.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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kslawn

The port is making money hand over fist , as evidence of article, correct me if I'M wrong but aren't they a taxing entity.If so, this should not be ,let them stand on their own merits,like everyone else.I would like to buy some land too and hang the price around some one else's wallet

steve1stein

Point well taken kslawn - but all things considered, Port Freeport tax rate in 2018 was .0401 - compare that to the city rate in West Columbia of .82, highest in the county - Lake Jackson's was .3352, lowest in the county - the Danbury ISD tax rate was 1.6407, highest in the county, the Sweeny ISD rate was 1.2117, lowest in the county. [all numbers compiled from http://www.brazoriacad.org/ ] - The only taxing entities I found lower was a couple of drainage districts and the Angleton-Danbury Hospital Dist, the later of which was bought by UTMB - and the reason I was told by an Angleton citizen was that those folks still have to pay that tax is to pay off previous bond elections that were passed to fund expansion. Further, I found that Port Freeport tax rate was .045 in 2014 - so their has been a small reduction in their tax rate. Not sure if any other taxing entities have done that.

kslawn

I did some research on tax rates before my first post, it is not necessarily the amount, but the fact that it is happening , turning a blind eye to small things lead to bigger problems . We have all 'tolerated' certain things only to have them turn into something that required a lot of effort to fix.

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