The Port of Corpus Christi ended 2021 with record tonnage, mainly attributable to an 81.2 percent increase from 2020 in shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), while crude oil exports averaged a record 1.76 million barrels per day in 2021, a slight increase over its 2020 record performance. The Port of Corpus Christi’s new annual tonnage record of 167.3 million tons is a 4.7 percent increase over 2020.
LNG exports fueled much of the growth, reaching 15.7 million tons as the global energy markets continue to recover from the demand destruction wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. In addition, the Port of Corpus Christi saw increases in break bulk cargo such as wind energy components, natural gas liquids, as well as refined products such as diesel and motor gasoline. The Port of Corpus Christi also saw its best quarter in Q4-2021 at 44.3 million tons, besting the prior record from Q2-2021, and setting a new high for the second half of the year. From July through December 2021, the Port of Corpus Christi moved 86.8 million tons of cargo, up 4.7 percent from the previous mark set in the second half of 2020.
The Port of Corpus Christi hit an all-time high for crude oil exports in December, exceeding 60 million barrels in a month for the first time in its 100-year history. For the year, the Port of Corpus Christi’s 1.76 million barrels per day of crude oil exports saw an increase of approximately 100,000 barrels per day over its 2020 record high. The Port of Corpus Christi accounted for roughly 58 percent of all crude oil exports in 2021, according to research firm RBN Energy.
“These tonnage numbers are an indication of a continued recovery in the global energy markets coupled with an economic resiliency resulting from our transportation infrastructure investments alongside our customers increased investments in their operations,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “While 2021 was no less challenging than 2020, I commend our Port Commissioners and Staff for their continued dedication to creating more value for our customers as we increase the competitiveness of goods movement through our gateway.”
The Port of Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend has seen over $55 billion in private industrial investments over the past five years, an unprecedented level of growth resulting in a vibrant regional economy. Additional investments in infrastructure include the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project, which once completed in late 2023 will render the Corpus Christi Ship Channel the deepest and widest ship channel in the entire U.S. Gulf. Work on Phases 2 and 3 of this four-phase project are ongoing, with funding for the fourth and final phase pending federal appropriations.
The Port of Corpus Christi continues to diversify its customer and commodity portfolio with new and innovative initiatives, including scalable hydrogen and renewable energy production, as well as a centralized Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) solution for its existing target sources and anticipated new industrial developments coming to South Texas.
“As the Energy Port of the Americas, the Port of Corpus Christi remains committed to helping its customers meet the demand for American-produced energy now and into the future, while also continuing the Port of Corpus Christi’s evolution as a renewable energy hub,” said Charles W. Zahn Jr., Port of Corpus Christi Commission Chairman. “We stand, as always, aligned with our industry partners as we move ahead with new projects in 2022 that will undoubtedly open the door to new investments and more jobs in Texas.”