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Author: 
The Brownsville Herald

Cargo activity at the Port of Brownsville continues its upward trajectory, according to port director and CEO Eduardo Campirano, who said 2014 was the best year on record in terms of revenue.

Total operating revenue for 2014 was $15.4 million, compared to $13.9 million in operating revenue for 2013. That’s according to an unaudited monthly operations summary from the Brownsville Navigation District, the public entity that owns and operates the port.

“This doesn’t include tax money or anything,” Campirano said. “We don’t use ad valorem taxes to operate the port. This is our business. That’s operating revenue.”

The port made $6.1 million over its operating expenses in 2014 compared to $5.4 million in 2013.

“A 40 percent return is not bad,” Campirano said. “This is the second time I think in the last three years that we’ve actually had revenues over expenses in excess of $6 million. That’s important to us, because a lot of our operations, we fund it through the money we make.”

Those revenues also pay for street improvements, repairs and other capital projects, he said.

“We only really go out for debt financing on big things,” Campirano said. “We’ve got to pay for ourselves and pay to undertake repairs and improvements.” For January 2015, total revenue was $1.4 million, which was $635,000 over operating expenses.

“If this is an indication of what things may look like this year, that’ll be good,” Campirano said. “Overall (2014) certainly was a good year, a better year than the year before. If that trend continues it’s going to be exciting.”

It was also the port’s best year in terms of tonnage. Total tonnage for waterborne and nonwaterborne cargo was 7.6 million, compared to 6.7 million last year, Campirano said.

Much of the increase is due to the growing demand for steel on the part of Mexico’s burgeoning manufacturing sector, with the port handling much of that steel, and growing consumer demand in the United States, he said.

“People are buying more refrigerators and washers and dryers,” Campirano said. “Well guess what? A lot of that comes from Mexico, crosses at Laredo and goes into the stores.”

Plus, automobile manufacturing is a “huge deal,” he said.

“Just about everybody in the automobile industry who’s anybody is there,” Campirano said. “My understanding is that there’s going to be something like seven to nine new facilities coming online between this year and 2017. I think Mexico already produces more cars than all of Europe combined, and that one of every four cars (soon) will be built in Mexico.”

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