Posted on December 14, 2020
On Tuesday, the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority met for its last regular meeting of 2020. Chairman Ric Campo was pleased to highlight further news that the Houston Ship Channel had been officially named as the nation’s busiest waterway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center. The Port of Houston also continues to be the leader for foreign waterborne tonnage, as it has been for 24 years.
“The #1 ranking and the Houston Ship Channel’s importance to the region, state, and nation clearly highlights the need to expedite the improvements of the channel, to accommodate growth and ensure safe and efficient trade for the U.S.,” Chairman Campo said.
He also shared the news that Port Houston was close to the next major milestone of Project 11, the effort to widen the Houston Ship Channel. Chairman Campo said that congressional action was expected shortly on WRDA 2020, the latest water resources development act, and that “authorization for our channel improvement project has been included in the final bill text – putting us one step closer to commencement of the much-needed project.”
Later in the day Port Houston learned that the House of Representatives had passed the bill, which would soon be moving on to the Senate.
Chairman Campo also explained that while the coming congressional authorization of Project 11 is significant, the next major step in the delivery process for the widening and deepening the channel will be to secure a “New Start” designation from the administration and discretionary funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Finally, Griffin & Strong, P.C. reported on its comprehensive contracting Disparity Study. The firm presented its draft findings to the Port Commission during the meeting and affirmed that the study identified disparities in the procurement process. The Port Commission authorized staff to work on next steps, as Chairman Campo emphasized Port Houston’s commitment to creating opportunities for diversity and inclusion for all.
The commission passed a motion committing to taking meaningful action to enhance and improve the participation of small-, minority-, and women-owned businesses for Port Authority contracts. Chairman Campo said that the community would be engaged in Port Houston’s transparent process for change and improvement. The independent study was commissioned by the Port Commission in 2019.
In his staff report to the commission, Executive Director Roger Guenther reported that container volume continued at a healthy pace in November, increasing 7% compared to that month in the prior year. He also shared that Port Houston handled 2.72 million TEU (twenty-foot-equivalent container units) through the first 11 months of this year, “which puts us virtually equal to 2019 for the year-to-date.”
The next Port Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.
Griffin & Strong will present Port Houston’s Disparity Study results to the public via Zoom on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 6:00 pm.
Source: Port of Houston