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Oil boom sparks congestion in Houston Ship Channel

Build-up of sediment could disrupt commerce totalling US$330m a day

Published Mon, Sep 15, 2014 · 04:09 AM
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[HOUSTON] It takes an expert pilot to pull off the Texas Chicken.

The manoeuvre, in which crossing ships set up for a head-on collision and use each other's wave pressure to swerve safely past, is the only way to handle two-way traffic in the Houston Ship Channel, which connects the city's main business district with Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

The narrow waterway is used by some 400 vessels every day, from barges to tankers almost as long as the tallest skyscraper on the horizon.

"We're still trying to stuff these bigger ships up these tiny…

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