Port of Corpus Christi Opens Trade Lines to Venezuela

Establishing a dedicated monthly shipping service between Texas’s Port of Corpus Christi and Venezuela opens a two-way trade route that hadn’t existed at the port before. The opening of the trade route comes on the heels of the selection of Federal Development as the master developer of a $400 million project that includes the development of La Quinta Trade Gateway. Federal Development will be the master developer of 1,009 acres in Ingleside, which includes 576 acres at Naval Station Ingleside, which will revert to the port in the fall of 2010. Federal will create a mixed-use site with potential uses include maritime operations, tourism, biotechnology, green technology, higher education, commercial, residential and light industry. The Venezuelan trade route opened when the Port of Corpus Christi commission approved entering into a “memorandum of understanding” with Paris-based Saint-Gobain Norpro to establish a dedicated monthly shipping service between the Port of Corpus Christi and Venezuela. The service would call on the Port of Corpus Christi once a month and bring in approximately 5,000 tons of cargo northbound. Saint-Gobain will utilize 50 percent of the number nine warehouse and the vessel will berth at the north side general cargo docks (pictured). The cargo will consist of Ceramic Proppants, which will be distributed by truck on a monthly basis throughout Texas. “Establishing a two-way trade route which is regularly serviced is important to a lot of potential customers. Some are already doing business there and trying to establish a shipping line. But, if we have that service already they can plan their logistics,” John Valls, marketing manager for the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, told CPN. “It is like having a direct air service from one location to another. It creates opportunities by having a consistent and constant transportation mode.” Southbound cargo would consist of break bulk, bulk and project cargo. Southbound ports of call in Venezuela would include Puerto Cabello, Guanta and Puerto Ordaz on the Orinoco River. Puerto Ordaz is one of the main ports on the Orinoco River and is located approximately 170 nautical miles inland from the sea. SCM Lines is the vessel operator that will provide the service. “Our La Quinta container terminal is going to give shippers, logistics planners and retailers another option to bring containerized cargo into the U.S through the Gulf,” Valls said. “Now, in the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, the only container operation is the Port of Houston. Driving through Houston with an 18-wheeler and a container is difficult. We have uncongested exits from the terminal on our freeways and we have rail access, too.” The three-phase project is still in the planning stages, but should be open by late 2010 or early 2011. Federal will begin market studies to submit a plan to the Port Commission later this year. Saint-Gobain NorPro designs, manufactures and installs mass transfer, heat transfer and catalytic products for the chemical, petrochemical, refining and environmental industries. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, a multinational corporation with headquarters in Paris. The Port of Corpus Christi is mid-way along the Texas coast on the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles north of the United States/Mexico border.