The 51st Texas Legislature created the Port of Beaumont in 1949 as a political body and governmental entity of the State of Texas.
Its history as a deep water port dates to 1908, however, when a canal nine feet deep was dug in the Neches River from Beaumont to the Port Arthur ship channel. In 1916, the channel was deepened to 25 feet and a turning basin scooped out in the bend of the river. Local businessmen, meanwhile, had developed dock facilities on the waterfront. The port channel was deepened to 30 feet in 1922, increasing Beaumont's importance as a shipping center.
In the 1960s, the port reached its current depth of 40 feet. The Port of Beaumont Navigation District covers an area of about 150 square miles, including the City of Beaumont. A six-member board of commissioners, elected by navigation district voters to six-year terms, functions as a board of directors for the port. Since its creation as a governmental entity, the port has steadily expanded and improved its facilities in furthering its role as a major partner in worldwide commerce.