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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced last week he will launch a study to determine how the state can improve its ports to serve an increase in post-Panamax ships heading for North America after the Panama Canal expansion is completed.Ports have not been an issue that the Texas Legislature has spent much time studying, Patrick said in a press release.Speaking to a gathering of business leaders in Beaumont last week, Patrick announced he would create a port subcommittee on the Transportation Advisory Board, in addition to interim charges already issued to the Senate Transportation Committee. He also has plans to form an interim select committee on ports."Incredible opportunities lay ahead for Texas with the expansion of the Panama Canal. However, if we do not prepare our ports for the next generation of super ships we could lose out to other states along the Gulf and East Coasts," said Patrick. He estimated Texas ports contribute $277 billion in economic value to the state.