Barbours Cut Terminal


The Barbours Cut Container Terminal, or simply the Barbours Cut Terminal, is a major deep water port in the Greater Houston area in the U.S. state of Texas. It is part of one of the world's busiest ports by cargo tonnage.

Barbours Cut Container Terminal
Houston Ship Channel Barbours Cut.jpg
The terminal along the Barbours Cut Ship Channel and the Houston Ship Channel
CountryUnited States
LocationMorgan's Point, Texas[1]
Coordinates29°40′55″N 94°59′54″W / 29.68194°N 94.99833°W / 29.68194; -94.99833Coordinates: 29°40′55″N 94°59′54″W / 29.68194°N 94.99833°W / 29.68194; -94.99833
Operated byPort of Houston Authority
Owned byCity of Houston
Type of harborNatural / artificial
Land area250 acres (100 ha)[1]
Available berths6[1]
Wharfs6,000 feet (1,800 m)
Loading area230 acres (93 ha)
Warehouse space255,000 square feet (23,700 m2)
Annual cargo tonnage15.4 million short tons / 17.0 million metric tons (2007)[2]


Barbours Cut is situated along the Barbours Cut Ship Channel, between La Porte and Morgan's Point, Texas. This channel, located at the mouth of Buffalo Bayou on Galveston Bay, is itself a tributary to the larger Houston Ship Channel, which runs from Houston, through the bay, to the Gulf of Mexico. It is located approximately 27 miles (43 km) from downtown Houston.[3]

The terminal is located near the Battleground Industrial District, a major industrial complex in the jurisdiction of La Porte.[4]


Opened in 1977, the Barbours Cut Terminal was built at a cost of US$53 million (US$237 million in today's terms). The new terminal had a distinct geographical advantage over the old Turning Basin terminal. Whereas Turning Basin, situated upriver at the navigational head of Buffalo Bayou, is 6 hours or more from the Gulf, Barbours Cut requires only three hours travel time.[5]

In 2007 the terminal handled 15.4 million short tons (17.0 million metric tons) of cargo including more than one million cargo containers.[2][6] The terminal both directly and indirectly contributes thousands of jobs to the Galveston Bay Area and is a key factor in the economy of Greater Houston.


Part of the larger Port of Houston complex, Barbours Cut is the largest of the terminals and the first port in Texas to handle standardized cargo containers.

The terminal has six berths with 6,000 feet (1,800 m) of continuous wharfs. The loading area covers 230 acres (93 ha), with 255,000 square feet (23,700 m2) of warehouse/storage space. The channel depth is 40 feet (12 m) at low tide.[1]

The facilities at Barbours Cut include a cruise ship terminal. Until 2007 Norwegian Cruise Line ran cruises from this terminal but currently there are no cruise lines operating from the terminal.[7]

Environmental issuesEdit

Barbours Cut was the first port in the United States to implement the ISO 14001 environmental management standard, a rigorous set of requirements for minimizing a business' effects on the environment.[8] Nevertheless, the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, has given Barbours Cut and the Port of Houston a grade of "F" citing "its deplorable treatment of local residents and its few noteworthy programs to reduce the effects of its operations on air and water quality."[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Barbours Cut Terminal". Port of Houston Authority. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b "The Port Report" (PDF). Port of Houston Authority. February 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
  3. ^ "Map of route from Barbours Cut to downtown Houston". Google Maps. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Bay Area Houston Region (map)" (PDF). Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. Retrieved 2 Jan 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ Cartwright, Gary (July 1978). "On the Waterfront". Texas Monthly: 161–162.
  6. ^ "Bayport Terminal Progress". Port of Houston Authority. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  7. ^ Hensel, Bill Jr. (15 May 2008). "Shiny new port terminal has everything except ships". Houston Chronicle.
  8. ^ "Port of Houston Authority Celebrates 30th Anniversary At Barbours Cut Terminal (Press Release)". Global Newswire. 2 May 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
    "Initiative to bring ports environmental success: EMS program shows shared commitment" (PDF). AAPA Seaports Magazine: 29. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
  9. ^ "Environmental Report Cards for 10 U.S. Ports" (PDF). Harboring Pollution: The Dirty Truth about U.S. Ports. Natural Resources Defense Council: 50. March 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-13.

Further readingEdit

  • Appleton, John D, ed. (1987). Lloyd's ports of the world. Vol. 5. Informa Publishing Group Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85044-092-5.

External linksEdit

  • Port of Houston: Barbours Cut Terminal