Expanded Texas Shipping Lane Could Help Cut Trade Deficit by $50B

After three decades of wrangling, Texas officials have approved funding to expand the Port of Corpus Christi, which will widen and deepen its shipping channel -- a project that will have national and international implications.

The $360 million Corpus Christi Channel Improvement Project is expected to be a boon to Texas oil drillers as large oil tankers will be able to load more than 2 million barrels of crude oil at a time.

The funding came weeks after the Carlyle Group announced plans for a major crude oil export terminal on Harbor Island, near the mouth of the port. The project aims to dredge to a depth of 75 feet, large enough to accommodate fully loaded tankers, called Very Large Crude Carriers.

The terminal will be the first onshore location in the United States capable of exporting with VLCCs and would further the port's position as the preeminent global crude oil export hub, Carlyle Group said in a statement. The ship channel will also be widened more than 30 feet near the island.

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