Houston’s shipping bottleneck could curb expansion of major US oil and petchems hub

Mar 21 10:03 2019 Print This Article

An impasse has emerged between key operators on the Houston Ship Channel, a critical lifeline for growing US energy exports, as thriving activity in both tanker and container shipping has exacerbated competition for space.

Before August 2018, fog shutdowns were the main hindrance to ship traffic in and out of Houston, the second-largest petrochemical port in the world. However, that month the first container ship to exceed 1,100 feet in length traversed the 23-mile stretch between the entrance to the channel and one of the port’s two container terminals, facing no oncoming traffic, while outbound tankers were forced to sit and wait until it docked.

It was the first of 10 such ships

with length and width too large to safely allow two-way traffic. All ships

normally flow freely toward each other in the channel and veer around one another

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The Barrel

S&P Global Platts provides market insights so people can make more informed trading and business decisions.. They're the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets. Customers in over 150 countries look to their expertise in news, pricing and analytics to deliver greater transparency and efficiency to markets. S&P Global Platts coverage includes oil and gas, power, petrochemicals, metals, agriculture and shipping. S&P Global Platts provides critical information for the commodities & energy markets to make physical commodity markets more transparent and efficient. S&P Global Platts blog, The Barrel, provides the essential perspective on global commodities.

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