Published Brownsville Herald May 9, 2011
You should visit the Port of Brownsville during its 75th anniversary celebration May 13. I cannot emphasize how important the port is to the community now and how valuable it could be to the whole region in the future. Because of that importance I suggest that anyone who lives within 65 miles north, and south as well as 100 miles along the Rio Grande, attend the celebration and consider how your business could benefit by the facility.
Look around and think how the businesses already can help save costs in your current business, or how you can evolve your business to provide services that can be used by port residents.
One obvious idea that came to mind earlier when the Florida citrus market weakened was to work out additional markets for our fresh produce and juice products, as well as to import juice from Honduras and market it to fill market needs and flavorings using smaller, more economical direct container or bulk vessels.
Shortly after my first venture with a drive-on passenger and truck ferry failed due to the inability to locate a replacement vessel, I reinvented the idea of car and truck cargo.
In the earlier months passenger car shipments with private cargo loaded inside, all manner of construction equipment and general cargo filled the holds of our smaller ships to the point where we made a profit, until Hurricane Mitch damaged our reserves and we could not continue beyond carrying supplies to Central America. I believe there are still opportunities to serve Central America with inexpensive shipping, avoiding the dangers of driving freight through Mexico.
Such an operation would also bring jobs and business opportunities.
Vessel recycling at the port offers opportunities for work and business opportunities that support them. More importantly, think of new businesses that might enhance, support or use the byproducts of the existing companies there.
Esco Marine began as a ship breaker and has developed a number of supporting business entities such as used vessel parts sales and maritime memorabilia sales to improve profits received from their traditional functions. Even these could be refined by a smaller businessman who might offer specific kinds of parts such as those used for lighting, repairing and reselling electric motors, or the hydraulics that are found on ships. Nearly everything has value and an alternate use. Older machines might need refurbished or replacement parts. If you have the experience and skills, you might start a business bringing new life to an older machine by repairing it or supplying a repaired part to fix it.
Any interested folks could go to the port and see how it has contributed to the region for the last 75 years. Then think of how things work there and how you could benefit.
You might just find a job to match your skills!
Look around and see what facilities and opportunities exist. Talk to the folks who have businesses there, speak to the public officials, port officials and perhaps even the federal ones to find what support they can provide.
Information related to operations of the Coast Guard and maritime transportation, Homeland Security and Highways and Transit can be gathered from the officials at the port or at the local office. Guidance can be secured through U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold’s office if you live locally.
Port administration has substantially changed since the port bridge scandal. I am looking to see what improvements have been made to recover from the past mismanagement. Officials are very excited about being designated part of the Marine Highway corridor and expect new opportunities for the port and the surrounding community. You might want to inquire how this could help the community move toward a better future. Perhaps they will look toward a maritime bridge using barges to Mexico to reduce the heavy trucks and dangerous cargo from the bridges. I look to hear your comments in regard to the new leadership at the port so send your comments to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.