POINT COMFORT – Board Director Charles Hausmann got approval from the board on Wednesday to start looking for proposals to create a port master plan, which he said will help promote the port to more industry.
“I just need something that is going to show exactly which way the port is going and what direction we’re going to be going in a condensed version,” he said. “That way I have an easier time marketing the port.”
Hausmann said he wants the plan to include a summary and aerial-view map with a footprint of new docks, future development and expansions. The plan would also have an outline of what the new channel dimensions and turning basin will be as a result of the widening and deepening project, he said.
“What they need to see, (for instance), is that the new turning basin, once that gets built, is 1,200-foot,” he said. “We can bring some really big ships in and get them turned around with that and that will be more attractive with industry – to bring those people to us.”
Board member Johnny Perez said he wants to make sure the purpose of the master plan is established before paying to create one.
“Before we get into this master planning, we need to have a pretty detailed scope of, ‘Are we looking just for a PR brochure or are we looking for the nuts and bolts?’” Perez said.
The plan would partially be for public relations, but also to help interested industry actually visualize everything the port has to offer, Hausmann said.
In September, 122 vessels and 476,548.4 tons of commodities came through the port, Hausmann said. During the same time last year, those figures were at 112 vessels and 382,782.2 tons of commodities.
About 1.428 million tons of commodities have come through the port during the first quarter of its fiscal year.
As the port grows, the director said he would like to find space for a seafarer center.
“That is not going to be an easy task because everything here is full, but we need to look at that and start exploring some areas,” Hausmann said.
Rhonda Cummins has spent the past several months working to start a seafarer ministry with Bishop Brendan Cahill and the Rev. Scott Hill of Our Lady of the Gulf.
She discussed a Christmas at Sea donation-based program at the meeting, which will provide gifts to crews in Port Comfort during the holidays. Her goal is eventually to get a center started, she said.
“We are the only deep water port in Texas that does not have a seafarer center,” Cummins noted.
Seafarer centers offer a space for crews to get off their ships, access internet, purchase food and drinks, seek ministry, and more. The Port of Corpus Christi International Seamen’s Center, for instance, offers an array of services to the visitors.
“Without the crews on the ships, the ships wouldn’t come (and) there wouldn’t be the commerce – the economical impact,” Cummins said about the importance of serving those crews.
Hausmann said he would like to find a proper space for a center in the next six months to a year, but does not know whether that time frame is feasible.
“All of the ports have centers,” he said. “We’re just now getting to the point where we’re growing and have a need to get that developed.”