Houston Ship Channel Reopened on Limited Basis After Hurricane

The US Coast Guard announced a limited reopening of the waterway after a six-day shutdown for Hurricane Harvey, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The Coast Guard said it would allow vessels with drafts up to 37 feet on the lower sections of the Port of Houston, and vessels with drafts of up to 33 feet at the ports of Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport. The ports’ normal maximum draft is 45 feet. Farther east, Port Arthur and Beaumont ports were closed by severe flooding that swamped the southeast corner of Texas as the storm made a final landfall Wednesday and headed inland. In southern Texas, the Port of Corpus Christi’s inner channel has been reopened to vessels with drafts of 20 feet or less. The Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana, which was closed to deep-draft ships Wednesday, reopened on Thursday.

Transits on the Houston Ship Channel will be limited to daylight hours, and in Houston will be restricted to the section of the channel below Morgan’s Point, near the Barbours Cut container terminal but downstream from the port’s Turning Basin breakbulk wharves.

Houston-area shipping shut down last Friday as the hurricane approached. Floods ravaging Houston and surrounding Texas counties have interrupted freight transportation and caused damage and disruption that will affect logistics for weeks or possibly longer.  Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have interrupted truck, rail, sea, and air transport, as well as activity at warehouses and refineries and petrochemical plants.

The Category 4 hurricane hit land with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, but weakened into a slow-moving tropical storm that continues to dump rain on the area.

 RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available.  Our thoughts are with all those affected by the storm.