Velasco Container Terminal is located at the Port of Freeport, a deep-water seaport in Freeport, Texas. Credit: Port Freeport.
The Velasco Container Terminal expansion is estimated to involve an investment of $129.6m. Credit: Port Freeport.
LAN prepared the master plan for the design and construction of Port Freeport’s Velasco Terminal expansion. Credit: Port Freeport.

The Port of Freeport, a deep-water seaport located in Freeport, Texas, the US, is expanding its Velasco container terminal. The expansion is the single largest project being undertaken on the Texas Gulf Coast by a public port.

The project is estimated to involve an investment of $129.6m. Construction on the terminal expansion project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2020, while new facilities are scheduled to be commissioned in August 2022.

The port is also undertaking the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project (FHCIP), which is intended to deepen and widen the channel by 2023.

Port of Freeport Velasco Terminal expansion details

The terminal expansion will involve the extension of an existing berthing space by 925ft and the construction of two new berths to accommodate post-Panamax-class vessels. The new berths will be dredged to a depth of 51ft while maintaining access to the existing berths.

The main entrance will be widened to a width of up to 12 lanes and will accommodate space for the inspection of equipment and cargo. The container terminal will have the capacity to handle up to two million TEUs a year, upon completion of the expansion.

The project will involve 29,200t of steel piling and will call for a three-storey template for accurate alignment. 60,000t of rock revetment will be placed between the piles without damaging the new piles.

Layout and features of Velasco Container Terminal

The container terminal currently features an 800ft bulk dock facility, including a dredged material placement area (DMPA) site, cathodic protection, a new relieving platform wharf, electrical service, lighting, restroom facility and a small building.

The terminal will also include turnout lanes and proper signage, facilitating truck movement inside and outside the port.

The facility will include security systems, an advanced truck gate, heavy industrial pavement systems and intermodal rail facilities.

Construction of Port of Freeport Velasco Terminal expansion

Construction on the expansion project includes excavation, dockside piling, revetment and the demolition of the existing concrete relieving platform and combi-wall bulkhead. The project also involves crane rail and electrical installation, a new wharf, dredging and the installation of fenders.

The construction of the container terminal is being completed in two phases. The first phase, also known as the Backlands Project, created a general cargo area of 22 acres, which can be converted to support container operations.

“The facility will include security systems, an advanced truck gate, heavy industrial pavement systems and intermodal rail facilities.”

Completed in 2014, the first phase also added high-mast lighting, subgrade, general cargo pavement systems and drainage systems. The project also involved 700,000yd of mechanical dredging for clearance of a 1500ft x 400ft approach to the new wharf. A surface water storm sewer system was installed and two outfall structures were constructed to house dredge spoils.

Phase two will add two new berths, namely berth 8 and berth 9 and 14 acres of cargo storage area to the terminal. Berth 8 will measure 1,050ft, upon its completion in 2022. In addition, two new post-Panamax gantry cranes will be added to each berth at the port.

Approximately 2,000ft of rail spur from the Union Pacific Railroad to the American Rice facility will be relocated under the second phase. The relocation will comply with the Union Pacific technical specifications for industrial track construction.

Contractors involved in Velasco Terminal expansion

McCarthy was awarded a contract to provide placement, finishing and concrete paving services to the project in November 2019.

KMA Contractors Services provided construction management services for the Backlands project.

Lockwood, Andrews & Newman (LAN) was awarded a contract to provide the design and site development services for the expansion project.