The Port of Corpus Christi in the US has launched a $380m project to deepen and widen its ship channel to accommodate larger vessels.

The Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project will be executed by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company.

As per the plan, the Corpus Christi Ship Channel will be deepened from 47ft to 54ft and widened from 400ft to 530ft.

The project, which is part of the port’s plan to accommodate growth in crude oil production, is scheduled to be completed by 2022.

Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge said: “This moment has been 20 years in the making, and our team at the Port of Corpus Christi is not only excited, but we are humbled and deeply honoured to play a role in the American energy renaissance.

“We are building and enhancing infrastructure and collaborating with new partners as we prepare to accommodate major growth in crude oil production.”

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By GlobalData

After the 40-year ban on crude oil exports, the Port of Corpus Christi managed the first shipment of US crude oil abroad in December 2015.

The port witnessed increased demand and traffic due to its location in the Gulf of Mexico and proximity to the West Texas oil and gas region.

Last year, the Port of Corpus Christi exported $10.8bn worth of crude oil to US trading partners. It is currently the fourth largest port in the US in total tonnage. It hopes that crude oil exports will triple, and perhaps quadruple, as production continues to increase.

Port of Corpus Christi Authority Commission chairman Charles Zahn said: “Our port has been working toward this moment since 1990. This achievement reinforces our position as ‘The Energy Port of the Americas.’ In the Port of Corpus Christi chronology, today, we made history.”