McCarthy Awarded Expansion Project at Port of Freeport Velasco Terminal

Largest public port project on Texas Coast

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has been awarded the Velasco Container Terminal expansion project at Port Freeport, Texas. The Velasco Terminal expansion, which includes Berth 8, features over 925 feet of berth extension and will accommodate post-Panamax gantry cranes. This will be the single largest project built by a public port on the Texas Gulf Coast. Construction is scheduled to begin this month with the new infrastructure being fully operational by August 2022.

“McCarthy has vast experience working along the Texas coast, building and rehabilitating ports,” said Fitz O’Donnell, vice president of operations for McCarthy. “We excel at complex projects and look forward to tackling this large and important project for Port Freeport.”

The scope of work includes demolition of existing concrete relieving platform, excavation, combi-wall bulkhead, new wharf, wharf piling, dredging, revetment, fenders, electrical and crane rail installation. McCarthy will self-perform all aspects of the project except for dredging, electrical and crane rail installation.

There is approximately 29,200 tons of steel piling on this project and one of the biggest challenges is that the piles have extremely tight driving tolerances that will require a three- story template to ensure accurate alignment. In addition to the piles, 60,000 tons of revetment rock is to be placed in between the piles.  Extreme care will be taken during the placement of the revetment rock to ensure that the new piles are not damaged. Further, the new berth will be constructed while maintaining access to the existing Berth 7 and close coordination is required while vessels are docked at Berth 7.

The new berth will be dredged to 51 feet, matching the depth of the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project, which will handle newer, larger container vessels transiting the expanded Panama Canal and will be equipped to handle approximately 1.5 million lifts per year.

Port Freeport is ranked nationally 10th in chemicals, 19th in total tonnage, and 26th in containers. The Freeport Harbor Channel serves BASF, Chiquita Fresh N.A., CMA CGM, Dole Fresh Fruit, The Dow Chemical Company, Freeport LNG, Hoegh Autoliners, Horizon Terminal Services, Mammoet, Phillips 66, Riviana Foods, Inc., Seaway Crude Pipeline Company, Sallaum Lines, Tenaris, and Vulcan Materials Company.

McCarthy has been an active builder along the Texas coast for more than 20 years. It built the Velasco Terminal Berth 7 project for Port Freeport and completed several projects for Port Houston including the Bayport Wharf II, Bayport Phase I Stage II Container Yard, Bayport Gate Complex, Bayport Port Road, Bayport Phase I Stage I RCC and Bayport Wharf I.