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Port of Houston, half year report

Port Houston moved 1.3 million container TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) through the first six months of 2018, a six percent increase from 2017, Executive Director Roger Guenther announced in his report to the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority in its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

During the meeting, Guenther noted that Bayport Container Terminal recorded the largest number of single-vessel container box lifts in Port Houston’s history, with more than 4,800 lifts performed during one vessel operation. The historic performance involved a ship from one of Port Houston’s East Asian services (a 6,400 TEU-class vessel) that regularly calls at the port.

“This vessel would not have called Port Houston facilities without the expansion of the Panama Canal,” Guenther said. “We were able to handle this business due to the investments we have made in deepening and widening the Bayport channel, as well as investments in the equipment capable of handling this class of ship.

“This historic operational performance eclipsed the previous record by 650 moves on one ship,” Guenther added. “This very productive rate was due to the diligent efforts of Port Houston operations personnel, our stevedoring partners, and the labor we rely on each day.”

Port Houston operating revenues of $179 million set two monthly records during the first half of 2018; a revenue record was set in March and then was broken again in May, with revenue reaching more than $32 million. Guenther also reported that each sector of Port Houston’s business experienced revenue growth in the first six months, led by volume increases in its container business.

During the meeting, Guenther stated that Port Houston’s steel trade continued to show strength, and in import pipe in particular; overall steel cargo totaled 2.1 million tons, reflecting a growth of 21 percent compared to the same period last year.

Guenther noted leadership’s and staff’s commitment to reinvest revenues generated from Port Houston facilities in the continued development and improvement of all its terminals, including Bayport, Barbours Cut, and general cargo terminals. This commitment was further demonstrated by staff recommendations on the meeting agenda for Port Commission approval of more than $70 million in capital project awards and advertisements. One particularly significant item later approved by the commission was a $49 million construction contract to build Container Yard 7 at Bayport Container Terminal.

During the meeting, Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria congratulated Guenther for being recognized by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston’s “Most Admired CEO’s”.

She noted that the honor was particularly important because Port Houston employees submitted the nomination for Guenther to be considered for the recognition.

Chairman Longoria also recognized the Small Business & Maritime Education Department for receipt of an Honorable Mention from National Career Pathways, for its Port Houston Partners in Maritime Education Program.

Further demonstrating Port Houston’s commitment to investment and improvement of its facilities, Guenther provided an update on the arrival of three new neo-panamax cranes at the Bayport terminal. The cranes will help meet current and projected growth in container volume at the Bayport facility, and should improve vessel productivity and truck turnaround times. The new cranes will be capable of handling vessel widths of up to 22 containers across.

The three new cranes stand more than thirty-stories tall and have journeyed upright aboard a vessel for more than three months to reach Port Houston. The cranes are tentatively expected to arrive at the Bayport Terminal with booms fully raised Monday, August 6.

Following the Houston Pilots Board meeting, the Port Commission conducted a public Capital Planning Workshop.

There will be not be a regular meeting held in August. The next regular Port Commission meeting is scheduled Sept. 25.

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