The Port of Brownsville recently received a $14.5 million grant to expand and upgrade the port’s 3 million-bushel grain elevator, including rail and road improvements.
The port is “reclaiming its status as a major exporter of agricultural products” with the grant, said Brownsville Navigation District Chairman John Reed.
“This grant demonstrates the federal government’s confidence in the Port of Brownsville and its commitment to support all industries across the Rio Grande Valley,” Reed said in a release.
National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust added, “this grant will create immense opportunity for market access and expansion for sorghum growers in Texas and throughout other sorghum growing regions of the U.S.”
The $14.5 million infrastructure grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation was secured through a collaboration among the National Sorghum Producers, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, West Plains LLC, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
The Port of Brownsville is a deep-water seaport located along the United States-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas. The port is a major trade channel between the U.S. and Mexico.
Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) No. 62 at the Port of Brownsville reported $4.3 billion in exports and $4.6 billion in imports for 2019. Products in the petroleum industry and shipbuilding equipment brought the most value to FTZ 62, along with iron, steel and aluminum products.
West Plains LLC, an agricultural commodity trading business, ships five vessels of sorghum to China through the Port of Brownsville. The company handles more than 300,000 metric tons of grains, including yellow corn, dried distillers grain, sorghum, milo and sugar at the port.
“We think this will be a game changer for the sorghum sector. We’ll be able to offer a much more cost-effective solution for U.S. sorghum exports once the improvements to our facility are made, and that will put some much needed wind back in the sails of sorghum farmers,” said Amit Bhandari, chairman and CEO of West Plains LLC.
OmniTRAX Inc., a transportation and infrastructure holding company, worked with the Port of Brownsville to help facilitate the lease of the port’s grain-handling facility to West Plains in 2017.
OmniTRAX recently signed an agreement with officials in Texas to bring its Rail-Ready Sites program to its 45-mile Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway (BRG) near the Port of Brownsville. The program aims to connect rail-served properties with customers interested in locating in the area — near the Port of Brownsville and Mexico.
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