As the Port of Brownsville celebrates its 85th anniversary this year it will hold a huge community event on Saturday that will not only provide the public with information on the history of the port but boat and bus tours and more.

The port opened in 1936 and has continued to provide growth and economic opportunity for the Rio Grande Valley.

Saturday’s celebration, which is a free community event, will include live music, animal exhibits, bus and boat tours, children’s play area, free food prizes and more. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1000 Foust Road.

Because the Port of Brownsville is a secured area, adults must present a valid government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license to gain access. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

The boat and bus tours are at a first-come first serve basis and seating is limited. Reservations are required.

To reserve your boat or bus tour, call (956) 831-4592. Those participating in the tours must check in 30 minutes before departure.

Due to the pandemic the port’s 85th anniversary passed quietly just this past May 16, with just a brief mention of some port tidbits, such as the fact that it and the Brownsville Ship Channel were the brainchild of Italian-born businessman Louis Cobolini, secretary of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce in 1910. Today Brownsville is the largest U.S. shipping point for steel into Mexico.

The Port of Brownsville managed to rack up a record-setting 2020 in terms of cargo movement and revenue despite the pandemic-induced global slowdown.

The Brownsville Navigation District, in its April 1 State of the Port report, announced that the port moved 11.2 million short tons of “diverse cargo” and had operating revenues of $41 million for fiscal year 2020, according to unaudited figures. The year’s operating revenues eclipsed those of $25.4 million for 2019, while the port saw 51,115 railcar movements in 2020, a 24 percent increase from 41,207 movements the previous fiscal year, according to the report.

The port is located within Foreign Trade Zone No. 62, ranked second last year among the nation’s 193 FTZs in terms of value of exports — $4.3 billion for 2020, another record. The value of imports rose to $4.6 billion, putting Brownsville 18th among FTZs nationally. FTZ No. 62 has been ranked in the top three for eight years in a row.

The port continued to make major infrastructure improvements in with the purchase of two new mobile harbor cranes to expand cargo-handling capacity, and the start of construction on the $25.6 million South Port Connector Road, which will provide another route between the port and Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates and is the first phase of the planned East Loop Project.

The port last year also opened Liquid Cargo Dock No. 6, completed road enhancements and continued expanding cargo patios and “laydown yards” for the storage of equipment and materials.

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