WASHINGTON -- The Texas ports of Galveston and Freeport reopened Thursday and will receive their first car carriers since shutting down six days ago because of Hurricane Harvey.
A handful of roll-on/roll-off, or "ro/ro," vessels have been holding offshore to discharge vehicles, according to logistics officials at the two ports.
Port Houston, which handles imports for Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler, and the Houston Ship Channel remain closed on Thursday.
Port Freeport, south of Houston, was largely untouched by the storm because it has a protected approach, as well as storm levees with good drainage. The area picked up only about 15 inches of rain compared to several feet further inland, port authority officials told Automotive News.
A Hoegh Autoliners vessel is scheduled to dock Thursday at the auto terminal, company spokeswoman Safia Reddy said via email.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, vessel traffic is restricted to daylight hours and for vessels with a draft of 33 feet or less.
General Motors is the primary user at Port Freeport. The company exports Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades made at its Arlington, Texas, plant, to the Middle East. It also uses the port to import the Chevy Trax and Buick Encore crossovers from South Korea, said Jason Miura, Port Freeport's business development manager.
The Hoegh vessel has a mix of "high and heavy" cargo (i.e. heavy machinery) from the Far East and will also offload about 160 GM vehicles from Korea, said Anthony Vrban, vice president of operations for Horizon Terminal Services, Hoegh's terminal operating arm.