Port of Orange important part of OC economy

Published 5:38 pm Saturday, November 10, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


The port continues to be an important part of the economy of Orange County as the 21st century continues to take shape.

The Orange County Navigation and Port District have been an integral component to the development of Orange County for nearly 100 years, and it looks to continue for another century. Despite hurricanes and economic recessions, the Port of Orange continues to be a vital part of the community and the area’s economy.

According to its official website, the Port of Orange became a deep-water port, open to the Gulf of Mexico and the world’s oceans in 1916 when a 25-foot channel through Sabine Lake, past Sabine Pass, and out to the Gulf of Mexico was completed.

In 2014, plans were made to dredge the dock area of the port in order to allow for larger barges. This would, in turn, allow the port to offer more services, which result in a greater international exposure.

While classified as a Deep Draft Commercial Port by the Texas Department of Transportation Senate Select Committee on Texas Ports in the Overview of Texas Ports and Waterways Senate Select Committee on Texas Ports published May 2016, the Port of Orange is also classified as a Niche with a channel depth of 30 feet and a width of 200 feet.

Niche ports, according to the same publication, provide services that other ports typically do not. An example is Port of Palacios which serves a large shrimping fleet. The Sabine-Neches Waterway links the Ports of Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange. It is also the nation’s third largest waterway by cargo volume and moves more than 100 million tons of cargo annually.

The Port of Orange operates as a successful landlord port, complementing activities at larger ports on the Sabine-Neches Waterway. It is also used for lay berthing.

A lay berth is used for idle vessels. Vessels being put on the hook can use these as intermediate points between operational use and mothballing at an offshore mooring. These berths will feature very little landside access or equipment except what is needed to secure the vessel.

Orange County Navigation and Port District offer on-site marine services, which includes shipyards that can accommodate new construction and repairs of tugs, barges and offshore petroleum drilling platforms along with dry dock services for barges and tugs. The port’s Transmodal Services include ocean vessels, barges and rail truck. The Port of Orange has a long tradition of accommodating local industrial facilities with warehousing, packaging bulk cargo and railroad/truck shopping operations. With eight warehouses, it has a total of 345,000 square feet for storage.

During the Port of Orange Board of Commissioners meeting at noon Monday, the board will be given a presentation by a realtor to relocate the port. Port Commissioners meet on the second Monday of the month at 1201 Childers Road in