Port Arthur

Port Arthur was found in the hopes of being a center for trade and tourism in 1898. However, in 1901 the Lucas Gusher erupted at Spindletop, making Port Arthur a place to serve the needs of the petrochemical industry. Gulf Oil Crop and Texaco began to set up refineries, and shortly after Port Arthur became one of the world’s most prosperous oil refineries.





  • Population - 52,714
  • Black - 13,550
  • Asian - 22,914
  • Hispanic - 3,124 
  • Other - 12,269
  • Average Household Income - $45,769
  • Per Capita Income - $17,667

The Port of Port Arthur

Port Operations  Port Arthur is one of the best facilities for international shipping since it is connected to the KCS railroad which leads to major markets in the US and Canada and has easy access to interstate highways. It is also equipped to handle: breakbulk general cargo, forest products, iron and steel products, dry bulk cargoes, project and military cargo, and bagged and bailed goods. In 2008, there was 337,910 tons of cargo tonnage. The main trading partners are Mexico, Central and South America, United Kingdom, European

Continent, Sweden, Norway and the Mediterranean Sea area. The main imports are: steel slabs and forest products; the main exports are: forest products, petroleum, coke and steel pipe. A great amount of jobs (5,926) were created by Port Arthur and

Contributed over $305 million to the economy. The operating revenue is $10,899,097, while the operating cost are $9,526,254.

Total Dock Length: 3,102 feet (946 meters)
2 Berth Dock Length: 1,390 (424 meters)
3 Berth Dock Length: 1,712 (522 meters)
Apron Width: 100 feet (31 meters)
Ro/Ro Dock Width: 80 feet (24.39 meters)
Total Shed Storage: 518,400 sq. feet (48,159 sq. meters)
Open Storage: 17 acres asphalt surface (68,795 sq. meters)
Security: Fenced 3 sides and lighted beyond perimeter.
Port Rail System: 3 wharf tracks with up to 150 car capacity

 The Port of Port Arthur Navigation District of Jefferson County is the port authority. Located two hours from North America's major Gulf of Mexico trade routes, the Port of Port Arthur can handle any type of commodity, and it is an outstanding facility for direct transfer of international cargoes.

The Port of Port Arthur has trade relations with ports in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Europe, Central and South America, the Caribbean region, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands.

In 2000, the Port of Port Arthur completed an ambitious expansion project to meet the demands of the changing maritime trade industry. A new transit shed was completed to store and protect forest products that include newsprint, wood pulp, linerboard, plywood, paperboard, and lumber. The existing 50-car dockside rail was expanded to accommodate 150 rail cards to facilitate direct transfer of metals products, and a new paved open storage area of 7.3 hectares added.

The Port of Port Arthur contains 946 meters of docks, including one dock of 424 meters with two berths, one dock of 522 meters with three berths and apron width of 31 meters. The roll-on/roll-off deck in the Port of Port Arthur is 25 meters wide.

The Port of Port Arthur contains a total 48.2 thousand square meters of shed storage and over 68.7 thousand square meters of open asphalt-paved storage. The port is served by three wharf rail tracks with 150-car capacity, two shed tracks with 80-car capacity, and six storage yard tracks with 140-car capacity.

The Port of Port Arthur is served by connections to the KCS Railroad, enabling direct intermodal service to major markets across the United States and Canada. The port also has direct access to the interstate highway network.

The Port of Port Arthur can handle any kind of breakbulk general cargo, including iron and steel products, forest products as well as dry bulk cargoes, military and project cargoes, and a variety of bailed and bagged cargoes.

The Port of Port Arthur is located at the center of the barge routes of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs from Brownsville, Texas, to St. Marks, Florida. The ship channel is deep enough to accommodate the largest cargo ships and petro-chemical tankers.

The Port of Port Arthur offers a full range of maritime services, including pilots, stevedores, ship chandlers, and transportation professionals. The Port of Port Arthur contains US government offices, marine chemists and surveyors, travel and steamboat agencies, and custom house brokers. Port of Port Arthur facilities include public warehouses, privately-owned terminals, motor carriers, marine fueling stations, drumming facilities, and marine transportation.

Environmental Concerns

In 2010 a spill occurred as an oil tanker and barge smashed together, leading to a 450,000 gallon spill of oil into the Sabine/Neches waterway.

Many inhabitants of Port Arthur have expressed concern about the breathing air from nearby refineries. Hilton Kelly, says “I couldn’t get it out of my mind that I needed to do something for my hometown,” he says. “Because of the increasing air pollution, the people of Port Arthur were too sick to help themselves. They were beat down. The town was dying, and I saw a need that I thought I could fill.”  Kelly started an anti-pollution campaign that built upon previous detection of high containment levels in the air. One of the tests done was using a mobile air-monitoring unit known as a Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) that detected six airborne chemicals that were higher than they should be: benzene (a known human cancer-causing chemical), chloroform (a possible human cancer causing chemical), vinyl chloride (a known human cancer causing chemical), 1, 2-dichloroethane (a possible human cancer-causing chemical) and 1,2-dibromoethane. The high levels of toxic chemicals released from near by petrochemical plants have a definite correlation to high rates of respiratory disease, childhood asthma, cancer, and skin rashes in West Port Arthur. Many other incidents have occurred. For example, The EIP reported that in 2002, Port Arthur released 725 tons of air pollutants. While Motiva (Texaco’s first refinery in 1903) released 14.9 million pounds of criteria air pollutants in 2003. 

The Top 5 Polluters in the City 

The Top Chemicals in the City

Advocate’s contact information

Hilton Kelly 
1301 Kansas Avenue
Port Arthur, TX 77640
Mobile: (409) 498-1088