DALLAS-This morning, City of Dallas leaders signed a historic agreement with the Panama Canal Authority to clear yet another major hurdle to establish an inland port in the southern sector.

Dallas councilman Bill Blaydes, project chairman of the NAFTA Trade Corridor Coalition, local elected and appointed officials and the Panama Canal executives formalized a pact to strengthen a proposal to seat a hub for international trade and commerce in South Dallas. The agreement promotes use of an all-water trade route from Asia to Dallas via the Panama Canal, a pass-through for more than 140 transportation routes, and Port of Houston. The inland port plan, once viewed with skepticism, is now one of the most talked-about economic development markers in the region.

The first milestone was marked with the opening of a 360-acre Union Pacific intermodal terminal. This summer, the San Diego-based Allen Group announced plans for a mixed-use development on more than 3,000 acres beside the terminal. Under the plan, shipping containers would be off-loaded in Houston’s port, already an international leader in tonnage, and transported to South Dallas for inspection, sorting and distribution throughout the US and Canada.

Today’s signing is the second one in a week that shores up the inland port plan. Officials governing the port of Topolobampo in Mexico also forged a similar agreement with the Dallas NAFTA Trade Corridor Coalition.

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