Matagorda Bay has been the site of an active seaport for more than 300 years. The French explorer La Salle sailed three ships through Pass Cavallo into the bay in 1685. The remains of one of those ships – the bark La Belle, an 80-foot vessel with six guns – were recovered in the 1990s. Artifacts from the shipwreck are now displayed at museums along the Texas Coast.
A seaport was established at Indianola on the southwest shore of Matagorda Bay in 1840. For the next 40 years it was considered to be the finest harbor on the Gulf of Mexico with prosperous piers, warehouses and businesses that played a vital role in the colonization of Texas. The local population grew to 6,000. Low-lying Indianola was abandoned after being struck by major hurricanes in 1875 and 1886.
Port Lavaca was an active fishing port in the first half of the 20th Century. The Gulf Intracoastal waterway reached Matagorda Bay in 1942, connecting Calhoun County to the thousands of miles of channels in the nation's inland waterway system. Alcoa brought the first heavy industry jobs to the area in 1948 and Union Carbide followed in 1954, both taking advantage of efficient barge shipping on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Port facilities serving ocean-going vessels were built in the early 1960s. Ships began calling at the port's docks in 1965 as work was completed on protective jetties in the Gulf and on the federal Matagorda Ship Channel which was dredged to an operating depth of 36 feet.
Formosa Plastics Corp. began operating in 1981 and has continued to expand into a world-scale facility. BP Chemical, now INEOS, has since become a major port user. The Port Authority has worked with area chemical producers over the past 15 years to construct a series of state-of-the-art chemical cargo handling facilities to maximize their efficient access to feedstocks and world markets.
If you would like to contact the Calhoun Port Authority, or if you are interested in utilizing the world-class Calhoun Port Authority to accommodate your transportation needs, please contact us today.