As area businesses close temporarily throughout the South Texas Coastal Bend community to combat evolving COVID-19 concerns, the Port of Corpus Christi (PCCA) will remain open to provide critical infrastructure services and functions, as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
In accordance with the President’s updated “Coronavirus Guidance for America,” CISA developed the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” list, which includes but is not limited to: medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement and public works. The statutory definition of critical Infrastructure is defined by USA Patriot Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C.5195c(e)), as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”
The Port of Corpus Christi meets the definition of a “critical infrastructure industry” by CISA and thereby has a special responsibility to continue operations throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Federal guidance ensures that local orders will not significantly impact the Port of Corpus Christi if the State of Texas or Nueces County issues a shelter-in-place order. Rather, the Port of Corpus Christi will remain accessible to Port Authority employees, marine terminal operators, labor, vessel pilots, tug and barge operators, seafarers, stevedores, vessel agents, line handlers and key personnel needed to maintain operations in support of the energy industry.
“As a major gateway for U.S. energy to other states and our global allies and trading partners, we have a distinct responsibility to our customers and stakeholders to continue business operations with as minimal impacts as humanly possible, keeping public health and safety at the forefront,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “These are certainly troubling times we are navigating. However, we are committed to protecting both lives and livelihoods by mitigating risks through appropriate screening protocols and social distancing while keeping critical services and infrastructure functioning as normal as possible.”